City of Toronto issues extreme cold weather alert ahead of winter storm

Jan 14 2022, 2:39 pm

The City of Toronto has declared another extreme cold weather alert in the City as temperatures are expected to plummet this weekend.

Temperatures in Toronto are expected to drop to -19°C over night with a windchill of -28°C on Friday. Saturday is also looking frigid with a high of around -12°C and a windchill of -28°C during the day, and dropping to -18°C at night.

Three warming centres in the city will open at 7 pm, well after the cold begins to set in. Many advocates have called out the extreme dangers of the situation as shelters across the city experience COVID-19 outbreaks, and are unable to take anyone in.

Advocates have been sounding the alarm over the City’s shelter system. With the system on the brink of collapse, and only three warming centres open, many people’s lives are at risk. As of January 13, 47 shelters in the City were reporting outbreaks, with a total of 2,075 reported active COVID-19 cases in the shelter system.

On January 7, the Shelter and Housing Justice Network put out a statement about the state of the shelter system in Toronto.

“Shelters are full, staffing and supports are weakened and preparations for another COVID surge have proven inadequate. Shelters must be a place of refuge and safety for anyone in need and at this point they are not,” Greg Cook, member of the SHJN Steering Committee, said in the statement.

The City announced on Thursday that they would provide more than 300,000 N95 masks to people who use Toronto’s shelter system. Advocates say it’s a start, but not enough.

Brooke TaylorBrooke Taylor

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