The Ultimate Guide to Car Window Tinting in Canada

By Arthur Dubois | Published on 30 Jun 2023

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    If you love the look of tinted car windows and want to give it a try, you’ve come to the right place. This guide will cover everything you need to know about car window tinting in Canada, including the provincial regulations, cost and more. From the benefits of tinting to the legal consequences of non-compliant tinting, we’ll take you through it all.

    Understanding Car Window Tinting

    Simply put, tinting arises from applying a thin film to the windows of your car. This film reduces the amount of visible light that passes through the glass. As a result, it reduces the amount of heat that enters your car. You’ll find many benefits of car window tinting beyond just lowering the temperature. Let’s explore some of those pluses.

    Car window tinting has become increasingly popular in recent years, and for good reason. Not only does it add a sleek and stylish look to your vehicle, but it also provides numerous practical benefits. By reducing the heat that enters your car, window tinting can keep you and your passengers cool and comfortable, even on the hottest of days. This matters more if you live in an area with a hot climate or frequently take long road trips.

    Benefits of Car Window Tinting

    Above all, car window tinting diminishes the level of UV rays that enter your car. This can protect your skin from harmful rays and can even help reduce the risk of skin cancer. Additionally, car window tinting can reduce glare, making it easier to see while driving. It can also shield your upholstery from fading from sun exposure.

    As a bonus, you also get increased privacy. Tinted windows make it more difficult for people to see inside your car. This can become especially important if you frequently carry valuable items or if you have young children in the backseat.

    Car window tinting can also help improve the overall safety of your vehicle. In a collision, the tinted film can hold shattered glass together, reducing the risk of injury from flying glass shards.

    Types of Window Tinting Films

    When it comes to choosing a window tinting film, you have many options available. Some films arise from dyes, which means manufacturers simply add colours to reduce the amount of light entering your car. Others contain tiny metallic particles that reflect sunlight. Meanwhile, ceramic films have particles embedded in a clear polyester film.

    Dyed films typically offer the most affordable option, but they may not reduce heat as effectively as other types of films. Meanwhile, metalized films do this better, but they can interfere with GPS signals and other electronic devices. Finally, ceramic films cost the most, but they also block UV rays most effectively.

    How to Choose the Right Tint for Your Car

    The right tint for your car depends on a few factors, like your personal preference and regulations in your province. Keep in mind that you cannot drive with darker tints in some provinces. Additionally, some films more effectively lower heat, while others cut back glare. Consider what is most important for you and your driving needs.

    When choosing a tint, always invest in a high-quality installation. A poorly installed tint can bubble or peel over time, which looks unsightly and becomes less effective. Seek out a reputable installer who uses high-quality films and offers a warranty on their work.

    Do tinted windows affect my car insurance premiums in Canada?

    Tinted windows themselves typically do not directly affect your car insurance premiums in Canada. Instead, insurance providers generally focus on factors like your driving record, vehicle make and model, usage, location and age. Overall, they consider many factors when setting your insurance premiums.

    However, if your tinted windows violate provincial regulations, and you get ticketed for this offence, it could impact your insurance premiums. Insurers may see the infraction as indicative of risky behavior, which could potentially lead to a rise in your premiums. Therefore, always ensure any modifications made to your vehicle, including window tinting, adhere to the regulations set by your province.

    Provincial Regulations for Window Tinting in Canada

    Now that we understand the benefits and types of window tinting films, let’s dive into relevant regulations in each province. 

    British Columbia

    In British Columbia, regulations state that the front windshield and front side windows must allow at least 70% of visible light to pass through.This ensures that drivers have a clear view of the road and any potential hazards. Reflective tints are not allowed at all and tinting contained within the glass must meet the minimum light transmittance requirements under the Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.

    The back side windows and rear window can have tints, but they must allow at least half of visible light to penetrate. As a result, drivers have adequate visibility when backing up or changing lanes.


    Alberta has similar regulations to British Columbia. The front windshield and front side windows must allow at least 70% of visible light to pass through. The back side windows and rear window can be tinted, but they must allow at least half of visible light to infiltrate. 

    However, you can apply for an exemption – with a doctor’s note – if you have recurring skin cancer or a rare rash known as Bullous Pemphigus.


    In Saskatchewan, you cannot add tinting to the front windshield and front side windows after buying a car. However, you can add any level of tinting to the back side windows and rear window. 


    In Manitoba, front driver and passenger windows can have a tint level that allows 50 per cent of light to get through. For  passenger vehicles, the rear windows and the back window may have a maximum tint of 35 per cent. SUV, truck and van drivers face no legal requirements for rear and back windows. However, vehicles with tint applied before 1993 are grandfathered in and don’t need to comply.


    Ontario’s regulations for window tinting are a bit more murky. First, you cannot add aftermarket tint on any vehicle manufactured after January 1, 2017. That’s the easy part.

    The law states that drivers cannot operate a vehicle of which the “surface of the windshield or of any window to the direct left or right of the driver’s seat has been coated with any coloured spray or other reflective material that substantially obscures the interior of the motor vehicle when viewed from outside.” 

    Generally, that means the front windshield must allow at least 70% visibility. However, a police officer can issue a ticket if they feel the front windows’ tint “substantially obscures” the driver’s view. The back side windows and rear window can be tinted, but they must allow at least 35% of visible light through. 


    In Quebec, the front windshield and front side windows must allow at least 70% of visible through any tinting. Drivers can put tinting on the windows in the back half of the car and along the top six inches of the windshield.

    New Brunswick

    New Brunswick’s regulations state that a car will fail an inspection if any treatment coating or application of coloured spray or any opaque or reflective material gets applied to the windshield. That includes windows to the right or left of the driver.

    Nova Scotia

    In Nova Scotia, the RCMP state that drivers cannot add tint to the windshield or side windows of a car after buying it. You can, however, add it to the back windows.

    Prince Edward Island

    In Prince Edward Island, the rules echo those of Nova Scotia.

    Newfoundland and Labrador

    Lastly, in Newfoundland and Labrador, you cannot install any “non-transparent, translucent or opaque material” on a window beside or ahead of the driver. The law states the visibility must conform with the requirements of the Motor Vehicle Safety Act (Canada) CMVSS 205. However, the laws do allow  tinting already installed by the car’s manufacturer. 


    In the Yukon, a car can have a maximum of 30% tint on the windshield, front driver and passenger side windows and the rear window. “Long and short of it, drivers have to be able to see out, and other people have to be able to see the driver,” the RCMP say.

    Northwest Territories and Nunavut

    In Nunavut and the Northwest Territories, the laws are identical. Both say that drivers must have windshields and front passenger side windows “free from a coating of sunscreen or reflective material other than that applied by the vehicle manufacturer.”

    No matter where you live, it is vital to follow all regulations to ensure the safety of yourself and others on the road.

    The Cost of Car Window Tinting in Canada

    Now that we understand the regulations for window tinting in Canada, let’s take a look at the cost. This will depend on a few factors, such as the type of film you choose and the size of your car.

    Window tinting makes for a popular modification that many Canadians. Some may choose to do the job while others take it on themselves. However, you must comply with provincial laws if you do a DIY installation.

    Factors Affecting the Cost

    The biggest factor affecting the price of car window tinting relies on the type of film you choose. Ceramic films tend to cost more than dyed or metalized films. Car enthusiasts prefer ceramic films as they offer superior heat rejection and UV protection compared to other applications. Additionally, larger vehicles will cost more to tint than smaller vehicles, as they require more film to cover all the windows.

    Further, the complexity of the installation can affect the cost of window tinting. If your car has curved windows or unique shapes, it may require more time and effort to install the film. In turn, this can increase the cost.

    Average Prices by Province

    Again, the prices for window tinting will vary depending on where you live. However, here are some average prices by province as guidelines (except for Newfoundland and Labrador, Saskatchewan and the territories):

    • British Columbia: $150 – $500
    • Alberta: $150 – $450
    • Manitoba: $200 – $250
    • Ontario: $25 – $150 per window or $500 to $600 overall
    • Quebec: $150 – $500
    • New Brunswick: $325 for cars and SUVs, $425 for minivans and $150 for trucks
    • Nova Scotia: $150 and up
    • Prince Edward Island: $200 – $300

    Naturally, these prices represent averages and can vary depending on the type of film and the complexity of the installation.

    How to Save Money on Window Tinting

    If you seek to save money on window tinting, consider doing it yourself. You can buy DIY tinting kits online significantly cheaper than having a professional install the tinting film for you. However, keep in mind that the DIY option may not produce as high quality as a professionally installed tint.

    First, equip yourself with these tools:

    In general, follow these steps:

    1. Remove the window you want to tint. If that’s not possible, cover all electronics and surfaces to protect them from moisture. Spray the glass with a tint stripper. 
    2. Steam the glass then scrape it with a fresh blade. Rinse off the debris and repeat until it’s clean. Go over it with five to ten drops of baby shampoo or dish soap, focusing on the corners where grime builds up.
    3. Measure how much film you need and cut your piece  an inch larger all around. Next, lay the film on the exterior of the window and adhere it with your spray solution. Then, carefully cut off the extra inch of film. Use a heat gun to shrink away bubbles.
    4. Now, remove the liner from the film. Grab two pieces of masking tape on each side of the film, then pull them in opposite directions.
    5. Next, spray the sticky side with your slip solution and apply the film to the glass. Start at the top in the center, coming down then off to the side in both directions, moving horizontally all the way to the bottom. Use your squeegee or tinter’s card to work out all the bubbles and creases. Spray your slip solution over the tint again and squeeze out the excess water.
    6. Work your heat gun over one section at a time until the bubbles all disappear. 

    You can also save money on window tinting by shopping around for the best price. Don’t worry about asking for quotes from multiple shops and comparing them to find the best deal. Just make sure that you compare similar services, such as the same type of film and installation complexity.

    The Process of Car Window Tinting

    We’ve covered the benefits, types, regulations and cost of car window tinting. Now let’s dive into the process of getting your windows tinted.

    Preparing Your Car for Tinting

    Before applying tinting film to your car windows, the windows must be cleaned thoroughly. Any dirt, dust, or debris on the windows can cause bubbles to form in the film, which will look unsightly. Additionally, remove any old tinting film.

    The Tinting Process

    First, the technician will measure and cut the tinting film to the dimensions of your car windows. He or she will then apply it to the windows using a special adhesive. They will trim away any excess film and smooth the edges.

    Caring for Your Tinted Windows

    Once the tinting process is complete, you must care for your tinted windows properly. Avoid rolling down your windows for at least 48 hours to allow the film to fully adhere to the glass. Use only mild soap and water to clean your windows without using any harsh chemicals or abrasive materials.

    Before you get your windows tinted, you need to understand the legal consequences of non-compliant tinting. If your window tint does not comply with the regulations in your province, you could face fines and penalties. Additionally, non-compliant tinting could affect your insurance coverage and safety while driving.

    Fines and Penalties

    The fines and penalties for non-compliant window tinting vary by province. Newfoundland and Labrador have the lowest fines at $52 with the level rising to $200 in Prince Edward Island. You may also accrue demerit points in PEI and Manitoba.

    British Columbia$109
    Saskatchewan$115 to $150
    Manitoba$175.30 and two demerit points
    Quebec$154 to $274 for passenger cars and $125 to $525 for heavy trucks
    New Brunswick$172.50
    Nova Scotia$180
    Prince Edward Island$200 and demerit points
    Newfoundland and LabradorUp to $52
    YukonTraffic ticket and removal of your car from public roads; no fine specified

    Impact on Insurance

    Non-compliant window tinting can also impact your insurance coverage. If you collide with another car and your tinting plays a factor, your insurance company may refuse to cover any damages.

    Safety Concerns

    Lastly, window tinting can pose a safety risk while driving. After all, a dark tint can reduce your visibility and increase the chance of a collision. Additionally, if you get pulled over for illegal  tinting, the officer may have difficulty seeing into your car. At worst, this could cause safety concerns and escalate into additional hassles.

    Car Window Tinting in Canada: The Bottom Line

    Car window tinting can provide many benefits, such as cooling your interior and protecting your skin from harmful UV rays. However, following the regulations in your province will help you avoid fines and penalties. 

    Additionally, consider the cost and process of tinting before making a decision. If you do decide to get your windows tinted, properly care for them to ensure they last as long as possible. Happy tinting!

    FAQs About Car Window Tinting in Canada

    How much does it cost to tint car windows?

    The cost to tint car windows in Canada can vary greatly depending on a number of factors such as the type of car, the type of tint, and the service provider. On average, for a standard sedan, you could expect to pay anywhere from $150 to $400. Luxury vehicles or SUVs may cost more, potentially ranging from $300 to $500 or more. Remember, high-quality tint and professional installation typically come at a higher price but offer better longevity and performance.

    How Do You Get Away with Tinted Windows in Alberta? 

    In this province, the front windshield and front side windows must allow at least 70% of visible light to pass through. In other words, you can only tint by 30 percent. However, if you have recurring skin cancer or a rare rash known as Bullous Pemphigus, you can apply for an exemption.

    How to Get Away with Tinted Windows in B.C. 

    BC law mandates that at least 70% of light should be able to pass through the windshield and front side windows. Any window to the rear of the driver can be tinted to any level. So, you can tint your rear windows as much as you like but ensure the front-side and windshields comply with the 70% light transmission rule.

    Are Tinted Windows Legal in Ontario? 

    Yes, tinted windows are legal in Ontario. However, the law states that the windshield or any side window to the direct left or right of the driver’s seat must not be coated with coloured spray or other colored or reflective material that substantially obscures the interior of the motor vehicle when viewed from outside.

    Can I Roll My Tinted Windows Down 24 Hours After Tinting Them? 

    Ideally, keep your windows rolled up for at least 48 hours after having them tinted. This allows the adhesive time to dry and so the tint stays properly applied.

    How Long Does It Take to Tint Car Windows? 

    The time it takes to tint car windows can vary, but on average, expect to invest two to four hours to tint all the windows on a vehicle. If you’re only doing one or two windows, it may take about an hour.

    Can You Tint Windows on a Leased Tesla? 

    Yes, you can tint the windows on a leased Tesla. However, any modifications like window tinting may need to be removed before you return it at the end of your lease term. Of course, the car must go back in its original condition, depending on your specific lease agreement.

    How to Fix Cloudy Window Tint? 

    Cloudy window tint typically results from a rushed or poor quality tint or improper installation. To fix it, you will have to remove the old tint film and start over. This time, thoroughly clean the windows and apply a new tint. In some cases, the cloudiness may arise due to trapped moisture, which could disappear on its own over time. Give it time to fully dry out first.

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    Arthur Dubois is a personal finance writer at Hardbacon. Since relocating to Canada, he has successfully built his credit score from scratch and begun investing in the stock market. In addition to his work at Hardbacon, Arthur has contributed to Metro newspaper and several other publications