An alert is called in the morning based on Environment Canada forecast for overnight weather. The alert is posted on the City of Toronto website at: Alerts

The alert triggers additional services to ensure homeless people know about the dangers of staying outside and have the means to get inside to a safe place.

Warming Centres

The City will activate the following Warming Centres if an Extreme Cold Weather Alert is issued:

  • 129 Peter Street
  • 5800 Yonge Street
  • Exhibition Place, Better Living Centre, 195 Princes' Boulevard
  • Scarborough Civic Centre, 150 Borough Drive

Warming Centres provide resting spaces, snacks, access to washroom facilities and referrals to emergency shelters. The City will also increase the number of street outreach teams and will hand out blankets and sleeping bags. An alert is not designed to be a weather warning to the general population.

All services at the Warming Centres will be delivered following ongoing COVID-19 protocols to ensure the safety of those using the centres. This includes encouraging physical distancing and the mandatory use of masks, ensuring hand washing, conducting symptom screening and monitoring, increasing infection control and prevention measures such as enhanced cleaning, and providing isolation and recovery sites for individuals that await results or test positive to recover. Customers may contact Central Intake for space availability at a Warming Centre.

Criteria used to call Extreme Cold Weather Alerts

The Cold Weather Plan will be in effect each year between November 15 and April 15.

During this time period, the City of Toronto's Office of Emergency Management, in consultation with the Medical Officer of Health, will issue an Extreme Cold Weather Alert when Environment Canada forecasts that overnight temperatures will reach -15 Celsius or colder in the City of Toronto.

All Extreme Cold Weather Alerts are issued, extended or terminated at 7:00 am each morning. At that time, a check of the forecast is made for a 24 hr period, that is 7:00 am that day until 6:59 am the following day. If the temperature at any point during that 24 hour period is - 15 Celsius or less or there is a wind chill of - 20 Celsius or less, an alert will be issued.

Extreme Cold Weather Alerts may also be issued at warmer temperatures when Environment Canada's weather forecast includes one or more factors that increase the impact of cold weather on health, such as:

  • Wind chill;
  • precipitation;
  • Low daytime temperatures;
  • Days/nights of cold weather in a row;
  • Sudden cold weather.

At all times, the City of Toronto's Office of Emergency Management, in consultation with the Medical Officer of Health, will apply the guidelines with some discretion after consideration of current and expected weather conditions.

For more details on Staying Healthy in Extreme Cold Weather, Get Ready for Winter and Plan Ahead: Groups and Organizations, and Extreme Cold Weather Alerts, please visit the City of Toronto website.

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