Extreme winter weather will hit Canada over the weekend. What to expect – Global News
Much of Canada is under a winter weather warning, and it’s expected that bitterly cold wind chills in some parts will continue until the weekend.
According to Environment Canada, an extreme cold warning has been issued for much of the country, including all of Alberta and Saskatchewan, with wind chills nearing -40.
Northern Ontario, northern and southern Quebec, some parts of Nunavut, Manitoba and British Columbia, and Newfoundland and Labrador are also expected to experience very cold wind chills, freezing rain or snow.
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“A large upper-level low (pressure system) is leading to a cold Arctic blast across the nation,” Global Edmonton chief meteorologist Jesse Beyer said on Wednesday.
Much of the U.S. is also experiencing extreme cold and winter storms that are sowing more chaos on Thursday, shutting down much of Portland, Ore., after the city experienced its second-snowiest day in history and paralyzing travel from parts of the Pacific Coast all the way to the northern Plains.
As a result, airlines have warned Wednesday that travel to and from Central Canada may be affected by a winter storm sweeping in from the West.
The blizzard conditions may cause delays to flights into and out of airports in Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal on Wednesday and Thursday, Air Canada and WestJet said.
Here’s a look at how the weather system has started impacting some provinces.
Nearly all of southern Ontario is under some sort of weather warning from Environment Canada, with freezing rain warnings to the south, winter storm warnings into the Toronto area and toward Kingston, and snowfall warnings further north.
According to Environment Canada, a period of very cold wind chills is expected for northern parts of Ontario with wind chills nearing -40.
“Extreme cold conditions are expected once again overnight into Friday morning,” the weather agency said in its alert issued Thursday.
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Global News meteorologist Anthony Farnell said Wednesday that he also expects that colder air will move in on Friday and into the weekend.
“It will be a struggle to shovel this mess as a snow and ice pellet and freezing rain combo will create a form of frozen cement,” he said for areas that will see that messy mix.
A prolonged period of very cold wind chills is expected for Quebec’s north and south, Environment Canada said.
An Arctic air mass combined with moderate winds will give wind chill values between -52 and -54 Thursday night and on Friday.
“However, communities located west of Ungava Bay will experience wind chill values near minus 60,” the agency stated.
An Arctic blast of winter has settled over all of British Columbia.
Global BC meteorologist Mark Madryga said Wednesday that after two very cold, dry and mostly sunny days Thursday and Friday on the South Coast, Saturday will turn snowy later in the day and especially on Saturday night.
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“Current predictions of snowfall amounts Saturday night in the Lower Mainland are on the order of five to 15 centimetres. This will be followed by a drier and milder Sunday,” said Madryga.
Environment Canada has issued extreme cold warnings for all of Alberta, with Beyer adding that wind chill values overnight will be into the -40s in many areas, including Edmonton.
The weather agency said the wind chill may moderate during the day, but the extreme cold will continue through the week.
“We will be cold Wednesday through Friday but should return to minus-side single digits for the weekend,” Beyer said.
Environment Canada said extreme wind chill values near -40 will continue Thursday as a bitterly cold Arctic airmass remains over the region.
The cold weather is expected to continue until the weekend, at which point a warming trend begins, bringing temperatures to near seasonal values by Sunday, the agency added.
Meteorologist Chris Stammers told 680 CJOB’s The Start Thursday that Manitoba may be mere days away from temperatures beginning to turn around.
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“It looks like a couple more days,” Stammers said.
“By Sunday, we’re going to be warming back up toward normal, so really about three more days of this really cold weather.
“Certainly, as we get into March, it gets harder to have a prolonged stretch of extreme cold, so I think we’ve probably started to turn the corner. … You can still see these temperatures, it’s just not as prolonged.”
An extreme cold warning is being issued for Saskatoon, Regina and much of the province, with Environment Canada saying wind chill values could hit in the -40 to -45 range.
“Temperatures are expected to return to near seasonal values this weekend,” the weather agency said. Natalie Hasell of Environment Canada told Global News Wednesday that Saskatchewan is under the influence of a ridge of high pressure, which is bringing cold, Arctic air south.
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“Most of the province is under an alert for the extreme cold,” Hasell said.
She said places like Moose Jaw, Assiniboia, Swift Current, Shaunavon and Leader are not under the extreme cold warning, but added that the southwestern corner of the province is still quite cold.
Newfoundland and Labrador
Most of Newfoundland and Labrador is expected to be under a prolonged period of very cold wind chills, according to Environment Canada.
The coldest wind chills are expected to be from -30 to -25, which is expected to begin Thursday night and continue until early next week.
“An arctic air mass will settle over the island for the next few days. While warning criteria is not expected to be met on most of the island, wind chill values will be very cold, posing a risk of frostbite. Conditions will begin moderating gradually by early next week,” the weather agency said.
How can Canadians stay safe?
According to Environment Canada, some of the cold-related symptoms to watch out for are “shortness of breath, chest pain, muscle pain and weakness, numbness and colour change in fingers and toes.”
The Canadian government is also urging people to get assistance if needed.
“Get medical assistance immediately if you notice signs of confusion, slurred speech, stiff muscles or uncontrollable shivering. These are signs of hypothermia,” the government said on its website.
The government adds that it’s important to have an emergency pack at hand with a battery-powered flashlight, a radio, tools for emergency repair, ready-to-eat food, a first aid kit, blankets and extra clothing should it become too cold to venture outdoors.
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“Keep your car gas tank full in case gas stations close down after a storm and have some cash on hand in case bank machines and electronic payment methods are down,” the government said.
Canadians are also being reminded to dress warmly.
“Wear layers of clothing with a wind-resistant outer layer,” the government said. “You can remove layers if you get too warm, before you start sweating, or add a layer if you get cold.”
In extremely cold conditions like this one, the government recommends covering as much exposed skin as possible.
“If you get wet, change into dry clothing. You lose heat faster when you are wet.”
— with files from The Canadian Press, The Associated Press and Karen Bartko, Amy Judd, Ryan Rocca, Brody Langager and Sam Thompson, Global News
Risk of a hard landing for Canadian economy is up, former Bank of Canada governor says – CTV News
Former Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz says Canada’s economy is at a greater risk of a “hard landing” — a rapid economic slowdown following a period of growth and approaching a recession.
Amid the central bank’s interest rate hikes intended to tame inflation, inflation cooled to 5.2 per cent in February. That’s down from 5.9 per cent in January, after 40-year record highs over the summer, reaching as high as 8.1 per cent in June.
Poloz told CTV’s Question Period host Vassy Kapelos — in a joint interview with former Liberal finance minister John Manley airing Sunday — the Bank of Canada and federal government’s efforts to rein in inflation are working, but the chances of a hard landing remain.
“The risk of a hard landing has definitely gone up, given that so much has already happened, and we’re still waiting for the rest of the effects of interest rate rises to work their way through,” he said, adding he is “heartened by the response of the supply side of the economy.”
“That’s really where a soft landing comes from,” he said. “It’s not fancy engineering on the part of the central bank. But as the supply side continues to grow — such as new entrants into the workforce, from immigration and from parents who are taking advantage of the new childcare policy — those kinds of things are giving us, coming up from below, strengthening the economy.“
While Poloz said the supply growth is a good sign, at this point it would require “some luck” to achieve a soft landing and avoid a recession.
Federal Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland meanwhile is set to table the budget on Tuesday.
She’s long been signalling Canadians can expect fiscal restraint to avoid stoking inflation, but also some significant investments. Namely, the government has been teasing targeted measures to help relieve the impacts of inflation, plus the already-announced $196 billion in health care funding for the provinces and territories over the next 10 years, and clean economy spending to help compete with the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act, which offers billions of dollars in energy incentives south of the border.
Poloz however called last year’s federal budget a “missed opportunity” to “have a different mix” of spending, and in doing so “lower the trajectory of the Bank of Canada’s interest rates.”
He said there’s now less risk government spending will counteract the impacts of the Bank of Canada’s interest rate hikes.
“I think we’re mostly beyond that point as an issue,” he said, adding last year would have been a more opportune time to stimulate the economy.
“That might have been better for everybody,” Poloz continued. “But that missed opportunity is behind us and now the economy is clearly slowing down. We got all that news in the fourth quarter, sooner than most people expected.”
“All the interest sensitive parts, such as housing and business investment, had been down three quarters in a row already, so in that sense, it feels recessionary already,” he added. “So in that sort of space, I think that business about causing inflation is off the table.”
With files from CTV’s Question Period Senior Producer Stephanie Ha
Questions raised about safety of Old Montreal building destroyed by fatal fire
MONTREAL — More than a week after a fatal fire tore through a building in Old Montreal, accounts from former tenants and victims of the blaze are raising questions about the safety of the heritage property.
Four bodies had been found as of Friday afternoon and three people were missing in the shell of the once-elegant greystone building.
Police and firefighters have said it’s too soon to say what caused the fire. But witnesses have raised questions about safety, including whether smoke detectors were working and whether there were proper emergency exits.
A rental tribunal decision shows that in 2012, the owner, Emile-Haim Benamor, blamed actions of a tenant for creating a risk of fire in the building. The comments are found in a Sept. 6, 2012, decision from Quebec’s Régie du logement, stemming from a dispute between Benamor and a tenant whose lease he was trying to end. According to the document, Benamor claimed the tenant was “manipulating electricity” and had “modified or added” electrical systems and overloaded the building’s circuits.
“The landlord insists that in the current state of things, the building is not profitable, he is unable to have access to the apartment … that there is a risk of fire and he says he is being monitored by insurance companies, especially since it’s a historic building,” the tribunal’s decision says.
The landlord also called a witness from the insurance company Lloyd’s, who testified that the unit presented safety concerns. In an affidavit included in the tribunal decision, Michel Frigon said the unit was not originally intended to be an apartment but rather a storage area. Frigon noted that access to the unit was required to perform maintenance of the building’s heating and electrical systems.
“The shower adjoining the electrical entrance to the dwelling presents a real danger of electrocution,” he added, saying a new insurer would likely have to be found if the problems weren’t fixed.
But in her written decision, administrative judge Jocelyne Gascon concluded there was little convincing evidence to suggest the tenant, Piotr Torbicki, was to blame for any electrical issues.
“The various electrical systems, although they appear to the court to be non-compliant, obsolete, the evidence offered did not establish that it was a recent addition,” Gascon wrote. She did not offer an opinion on Benamor’s comments about the risk of fire.
The building, known as the William-Watson-Ogilvie building, was built in 1890 and originally housed the offices of a flour company. It was gradually converted to residential use between the late 1960s and the 1980s, with the office of an architecture firm remaining on the ground floor. Municipal property records show Benamor, a lawyer, bought the building in 2009.
Since the fire, both the father of a missing woman and a former tenant have said at least one of the units had no windows or fire escape, while survivors of the fire have suggested the fire alarms never went off.
Louis-Philippe Lacroix said his 18-year-old daughter Charlie, who is presumed missing in the fire, called 911 twice within several minutes to say she was unable to get out of the unit she and a friend were staying in, which had no window and no fire escape.
A survivor of the fire, Alina Kuzmina, said that while the semi-basement unit she’d rented with her husband had fire alarms, she doesn’t remember hearing them go off. Kuzmina was able to escape the building by breaking a window and crawling out.
The owner this week responded to the claims through his lawyer, saying the alarm system was replaced in 2019 and regularly tested. Regarding the emergency exits, lawyer Alexandre Bergevin said the building’s layout is complex.
“It has always been deemed compliant in the past,” he said in a text message.
A former tenant spoke on condition that he not be identified, saying he fears reprisals from Benamor, who owns multiple buildings in the city. The former tenant said that in recent years long-term tenants have gradually left and been replaced by units rented on the short-term rental platform Airbnb. He also said some units had been subdivided, and at least one did not have windows.
Benamor’s lawyer, Alexandre Bergevin, said in an interview Friday that the short-term rentals in the building were the work of tenants and not his client. He said one person was renting seven units in the building and “illegally” listing them on Airbnb. He said that Benamor had told the person to stop the short-term rentals, and they had reached an agreement for him to leave the building by July 1.
“It’s a real scourge, it’s uncontrollable,” Bergevin said of the Airbnb rentals. “He had doubts on several tenants in several buildings, but it’s quite difficult to get the proof of all that.”
The lawyer acknowledged that one apartment in the building “didn’t have a window in the traditional sense of the term,” but it did have a skylight.
Asked whether the smoke detectors were working, he replied: “That’s an excellent question. We don’t know yet.” But he said there were detectors in all apartments, the central detector had been working the day before the fire and it would be surprising if all of them failed.
Bergevin said he was not aware of any specific electrical problems, including those raised in the 2012 rental tribunal decision, but noted that the building dates to the 19th century.
“It’s certain that it’s not the electricity we know today,” he said, adding that at certain points when issues arose, qualified electricians worked in the building.
Benamor, he said, has felt under attack since news broke that people had died in the fire.
“The public trial, while we have no idea of the causes of the fire, is causing him a lot of psychological distress,” he said.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 25, 2023.
Morgan Lowrie, The Canadian Press
St. John’s, N.L., airport closed after late night fire on 2nd floor forces evacuation
ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — A fire on the second floor of the international airport in St. John’s, N.L., resulted in the facility being closed late Friday night.
The airport authority said today the main terminal building was evacuated due to a “significant event” on Friday at 11:30 p.m.
No other details were immediately available.
The authority said in a release today it is working with police and the fire department to ensure all protocols are being followed before reopening the building.
The news release says the terminal building was expected to remain closed to the public until 6 p.m. on Saturday.
Passengers are being advised not to visit the airport until there is a public advisory the terminal has reopened.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 25, 2023.
The Canadian Press
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