Industry professionals are encouraging Ontario drivers to get their snow tires quickly, due to a shortfall in availability linked to a new law in Quebec.

As of Dec. 15, all drivers in the province of Quebec must, by law, have snow tires on their vehicles during the winter months. Quebec is the first province to require winter tires on all vehicles.

The sudden demand in our neighbouring province has meant long delays for those ordering tires in Ontario, says Paul Hyatt, past president of the international Tire Industry Association.

"Suddenly, Quebec needed two million more tires," he says. "That leaves the rest of the country short, and Ontario is the next highest winter tire user."

The backup is already beginning for Ontarians who have put off getting new tires until now, says Reed Mascola, service advisor for the Active Green + Ross Tire and Auto Centre on Adelaide Street in Toronto.

"There's quite a back order on winter tires," says Mascola. "Especially with Yokohamas. They have been particularly popular and it's hard to keep up with the demand. We've been having a lot of delays."

Mascola says many of the less popular tire models are still in stock, but drivers of popular cars such as the Honda Civic and Ford Focus should prepare to wait at least two or three weeks.

"It's important to get in earlier rather than later," he says. "By two to three weeks down the road, it might be backed up months."

One of the few retailers to be only minimally affected by the tire drought is Canadian Tire -- which holds 25 per cent of the national tire market, according to Hyatt. He attributes the company's strong supply to its national reach and buying power.

Hasan Hirsi, assistant parts manager at a Canadian Tire location on St. Clair Avenue, says he hasn't noticed any problems with tire supply at his location.

"Most people, they always wait to the last minute," he says. "I didn't see any difference this year."