Canada’s weirdest laws: tinted windows are illegal and could land you a hefty fine

The laws are so strict, there is no allowance for any type of window tinting, whether it be on the driver’s or the passenger’s side.
The laws are so strict, there is no allowance for any type of window tinting, whether it be on the driver’s or the passenger’s side. (Photo: iStock)

For all car enthusiasts in Canada that enjoy dark tinted windows, be warned: you could be tinting them illegally.

There are five provinces in Canada that strictly forbid drivers from tinting windows: Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Alberta.

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The laws are so strict, there is no allowance for any type of window tinting, whether it be on the driver’s or the passenger’s side.

Why do these provinces forbid car window tinting?

“The front side windows on a vehicle are designed to shatter into small pieces the size of a fingernail upon impact,” Alberta Transportation spokesman Bob McManus said in an email, adding “If you apply film over top of that glass it will not shatter correctly and will laminate into large sharp projectiles that can injure someone in the event of a collision.”

If the reason is safety, why then are other provinces allowing it?

Both Quebec and Ontario allow for car windows to be tinted but there are caveats; you can only tint your car windows so much before it becomes a problem.

In Quebec, the rule is that you can have your windows tinted as long as at least 70% of light is let into the vehicle. The amount of light that enters the car is measured through a photometer. If you are caught with your tinted windows being below the 70% light allowance, you could face a fine of between $154 to $274.

It’s less clear how police in Ontario measure how much light goes through a car window, because there is no percentage requirement for tint.

Ontario Ministry of Transportation spokesman Ajay Woozageer explained, “If a police officer feels it is too dark to clearly see the driver, police may issue a ticket.”

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For the provinces that prohibit car window tinting, the fines that are associated with tinting are nothing to sneeze at. In British Columbia, a first warning will get you a $109 fine and a second warning will get you a hefty $595. In Nova Scotia, the fine is $227 and in Alberta it’s $115.

Call it a lack of tinted love.

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