My country isn't a country, it's the winter.
The 'chanson' by Quebecois Gilles Vignault states that his country isn't a country, it's the winter.
And starting this winter - December 15, to be exact - all Quebecois will have to put winter tires on their cars.
This applies only to cars registered in La Belle Province, so if you're visiting, you're off the hook. Well, maybe ON the hook if your car skids into the ditch.
It does include rental cars (the car rental companies are thrilled - there goes the profit margin).
For an English-language version of the regulation, follow this link:
So far, Ontario has shown no interest in following Quebec's lead.
For sure, installing four winter tires on your car is definitely the wise thing to do (and yes, I do follow my own recommendation). You shouldn't need a law to understand that - just think about the cost of a single fender-bender they might prevent.
Put them on cheap steel rims so as to spare the tires the stressful mounting/de-mounting process each spring and fall, and to protect your expensive alloy wheels from winter's depredations.
Modern 'snows' are far better than those of just ten years ago - they're quieter, and still handle wet and dry roads decently. Just about every tire company has good new winter rubber - Brian's Auto in Milton recommended Swedish-made Gislaveds last year for the Kenzie fleet; if there's enough snow on them, these things will climb trees.
One thing most people are unaware of is the temperature operating range of tires. Just like racing tires, road tires need a certain degree of heat in them to work properly; conversely, too much heat and they start to degrade again. The no-season tires that come on most new cars (I call them that because they aren't much good in any season) are designed to work best in mild temperatures. When it dips down below about 10 degrees, the rubber starts to harden, and they start to lose grip, even on dry pavement.
So, winter tires aren't just about traction; they're about the correct rubber compound for cold weather.
And speaking of heat, one of the unintended consequences of Quebec's winter tire law is that winter tires have become something of a 'hot' commodity - it may be too early to call it an epidemic, but reports are starting to roll in about cars sitting at the side of the road up on concrete blocks, their winter tires having been 'liberated', probably to be seen later on eBay...