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Toronto warming centres will be open during Toronto’s Extreme Cold Weather Alert

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TORONTO, ON, January 10, 2022 – Based on Environment and Climate Change Canada’s forecast, predicting temperatures as low as -18 degrees Celsius (-25 overnight) in the city tonight, the Medical Officer of Health has issued another Extreme Cold Weather Alert (ECWA) today for Toronto in anticipation of the cold weather conditions forecasted for the next 24 hours or longer. The ECWA will be in effect until further notice.

Flurries ending late this evening then clearing. Local blowing snow early this evening. Local amount 2 cm. Wind north 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light near midnight. Low minus 18. Wind chill minus 14 this evening and minus 25 overnight.

ECWAs are issued when temperatures are forecasted to reach -15 degrees Celsius or colder, or when the wind chill is forecasted to reach -20 degrees Celsius or colder. Other weather-related factors may also be considered when issuing an ECWA.

ECWAs are issued to ensure Toronto residents take necessary precautions to stay safe from the cold. They also activate local services that focus on getting and keeping vulnerable residents inside. The City will open its Warming Centres by 7 p.m. today to give those who are vulnerable and may be experiencing homelessness a safe, warm indoor place to rest and access snacks, washroom facilities and referrals to emergency shelter.

The City’s Streets to Homes Program will dispatch additional 24/7 teams to connect with people living outside and encourage them to come indoors. Throughout the winter, outreach staff hands out blankets, sleeping bags and warm winter clothing.

Where are Toronto’s four Warming Centres are located?

  • 129 Peter St.
  • 5800 Yonge St.
  • Exhibition Place, Better Living Centre, 195 Princes’ Blvd.
  • Scarborough Civic Centre, 150 Borough Dr.

Warming Centres will activate approximately 150 spaces, in addition to the approximately 265 new spaces created through the City’s 2021/2022 Winter Services Plan. Over the past five years, the City has continuously added and maintained new capacity in the shelter system. As a result, the number of beds currently available for individuals experiencing homelessness is at a five-year high.

All services at the Warming Centres will be delivered following ongoing public health recommendations regarding COVID-19 protocols to ensure the safety of those using the centres. These measures include physical distancing, the mandatory use of masks, hand washing, conducting symptom screening and monitoring, enhanced cleaning procedures, and providing transportation to isolation and recovery sites for individuals that await results or test positive.

ECWAs are one component of the City’s Cold Weather Response Plan, in effect each year between November 15 and April 15. The Cold Weather Response Plan provides a framework for implementing and coordinating cold weather preparedness and response activities which focus on reducing the negative health impacts of cold weather conditions.

Those most at risk of cold-related illness are people experiencing homelessness or those under-housed, those who work outdoors, people with a pre-existing heart condition or respiratory illness, elderly people, infants and young children.

Information and tips for staying warm during cold weather can be found on the City’s Extreme Cold Weather webpage. Registration for Extreme Cold Weather alert notices is also available on this page.

The City asks residents to contact 311 if they see a person experiencing homelessness in need of assistance and the City will dispatch an outreach team to investigate. If the person is in distress or needs immediate assistance, call 911.

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