Ontario Law and Snowmobiling

snowmobiling, smowmobile


The winter season provides many recreational activities such as snowshoeing, skiing, ice fishing, and snowmobiling.

If you and your family are thinking of investing in a snowmobile this season, you should know the law concerning snowmobiling here in Ontario.

It is also important to check local municipal rules and requirements before riding.

The Ontario Ministry of Transportation has a handy chart to clarify the rules:

Your age and licence Where you can drive
Age 16 and over WITH a valid Ontario driver’s license, MSVOL or snowmobile license from another jurisdiction Snowmobile trails

Across a road, where permitted

On roadways, where permitted

Age 12 years or older WITH a valid MSVOL or a license from another jurisdiction Snowmobile trails only
Any age with no valid Ontario driver’s license, MSVOL or snowmobile license from another jurisdiction Private property only
Under age 12 Private property only


Where snowmobile riders can drive, depends on their age and type of driver’s license.

Individuals between 12 and 15 years of age, or 16 years of age and older that do not have a valid Ontario driver’s license must successfully pass a snowmobile driver-training course to obtain an operator’s license.

As the chart above shows the restrictions with regards to snowmobiling and age, here is where you can and cannot drive if you are over the age of 16:

You can drive:

  • On your property.
  • On private trails belonging to organizations of which you are a member.
  • On private property, with the owner’s permission.
  • If permitted by the municipality, alongside public roads, between the shoulder and fence line.

But you cannot drive:

  • On certain high-speed roads such as the 400-series highways or expressways.
  • On the pavement of public roads where vehicles drive.
  • On the plowed portion of the shoulder.

Here is something interesting about speed limits and snowmobiling:

Snowmobiles are not to be operated at a greater rate of speed than:

  • 50 km/h– on snowmobile trails
  • 50 km/h– on roads where the speed limit is over 50 km/h
  • 20 km/h– on roads where the speed limit is 50 km/h or less
  • 20 km/h– in any public park or exhibition grounds

Drivers and passengers must also wear a helmet. 

If you don’t believe in safety and following the speed limit, click here to read this article on injuries and snowmobiling.

To keep you and other drivers/passengers safe, consider taking a snowmobile safety course.  Check out www.ofsc.on.ca for safety courses in your area.

Do you require insurance for a snowmobile?  Yes, unless you are only driving on your private property.  Even then, we strongly recommend insurance as snowmobiling is considered high risk for sustaining injuries and damage to your snowmobile.

Your insurance policy not only covers damage to your snowmobile but also includes Accident Benefits in the event of injuries due to a snowmobile accident.

Snowmobiling is becoming an increasingly popular sport that requires an understanding of the risks and responsibilities associated with operating a snowmobile. Understanding the law in Ontario and the rules in your municipality is just the beginning.  There are many resources available such as training and online information to help you become the safest snowmobiler out there!  Enjoy the ride and be safe!