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November 22, 2007
Extreme cold weather alert in effect
The City of Toronto’s Hostel Services has issued the season’s first extreme cold weather alert, effective immediately, to help get homeless people in from the cold. The alert is in effect until further notice.

An extreme cold weather alert is a public service announcement issued to trigger additional services for homeless people. It is called when extremely cold weather is forecast, or if blizzards and/or sudden drops in temperature are expected. This type of severe weather is hazardous to homeless people who are sleeping outside.

An alert is in effect when Environment Canada:
  • predicts a temperature of -15 degrees Celsius or lower, without wind chill
  • issues a wind chill warning for outdoor activity for people in the Toronto area, and/or
  • predicts extreme weather conditions, such as a blizzard, ice storm or sudden drops in temperature.

Under the alert, the following extra services are available to help homeless people:
  • 70 additional emergency sleeping spaces in Toronto shelters
  • enhanced street outreach services, including emergency transportation to shelters, provided by Salvation Army - Gateway, Christie Ossington, and Central Neighbourhood House
  • emergency TTC tickets are available at a number of drop-in centres to help homeless people reach shelters
  • extra staff are on duty to answer calls to the Street Helpline, which is a toll-free number for homeless people to call when they are looking for services.

For more information, visit

Toronto is Canada’s largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. In the past three years, Toronto has won more than 70 awards for quality, innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. Toronto’s government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.

Media contact:

Elaine Smyer, Manager, Emergency Planning, Shelter, Support and Housing Administration, 416-397-1384, 416-714-2730 (after hours),



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