Changing a Speed Limit on the Municipal Road Network

​​​​​​​​​​Some information on this page will be updated when the new measures to be introduced in the High​way Safety Code​ through Bill No. 165:​​ An Act to amend the Highway Safety Code and other provisions come into force.​​​​

​​​​A municipality must comply with legal formalities to set a speed limit on the road network under its responsibility. If these formalities are not observed, the regulation could be challenged in court. This is why it is important that municipalities understand the procedure to follow when changing a speed limit. This procedure can be summarized in three steps:

  • Determining the speed limit
  • Adopting a by-law
  • Installing signage

This procedure is used to set fixed and variable speed limits on the municipal road network. Regarding speed limits in road work zones, see the Documentation section below.​​

​Determining the speed limit

​​​​​​​​This step consists in the analysis of road safety and traffic, among other things. This yields the necessary information to decide whether the speed limit should be changed and, if so, what the most suitable speed limit is.

The Ministère published various technical documents intended for municipalities. These documents are available in the Documentation​ section below.​​​​​​​​

The document Gestion de la vitesse sur le réseau routier municipal en milieu urbain (speed management on municipal road networks in urban areas) is a guide intended for municipalities published in 2015. The purpose of the guide is to help municipalities make decisions regarding speed management on road networks in urban areas for which they are responsible.​​​​​​​​

For roads in rural areas, municipalities can refer to these previously published documents:​​​​​​​​

  • The pamphlet Aide à la détermination des limites de vitesse sur les chemins du réseau routier municipal (assistance in determining speed limits on the municipal road network), which was published in 2008 under a concise and illustrated format, assists the decision-making process.
  • The Manual for setting speed limits on municipal road networks, published in 2002, ​​provides detailed instructions to determine the most suitable speed limit according to the surrounding environment.

Adopting a by-law

​​​​​​A municipality must adopt a by-law or, if permitted by law, an order to change a speed limit on its road network (see an example of by-law in the Documentation​ section).

​​​​​​If the by-law sets the speed limits on the entire municipal road network, it must state the name of all roads for which the set speed limit differs from those provided for in the Highway Safety Code, that is, 90 km/h on roads with concrete pavement, 70 km/h on gravel roads, and 50 km/h in agglomerations. It may not indicate a group of roads.

When a new road is built or an existing road is extended, and the speed limit set is different from the speed limit provided for in the Highway Safety Code, a by-law must also be adopted.​​​​​​


​​​​​​Since December 9, 2016, for Ville de Québec and June 16, 2017, for other municipalities, by-laws and orders adopted to set speed limits on the municipal road network no longer need to be transmitted to the Minister, who, in turn, no longer has the authority to disallow them.


Installing signage

Speed limit signs

Signs indicating the new speed limit must be installed only when the municipal by-law comes into force.​​​​​​​

However, for a reduction in speed limit only, the municipality may indicate the introduction of a new speed limit by installing the designated sign (D-40-8) one month before the by-law comes into force.​​​​​​​

​​​​​​​For a period of 30 to 60 ​days after the by-law comes into force, the municipality may indicate that a new speed limit has been set by installing the designated sign (D-40-P-2).

​​​​​​​Reference regarding speed limit signage and the signs to use: Volume 5 – Traffic Control Devices of the Normes ​– Ouvrages routier collection​


Temporary speed limits in road work zones: