Ice, snow and freezing rain have blanketed many parts of Canada, as winter continues to hold the country in its grasp.
Environment Canada has issued warnings covering snowfall, freezing rain, winter storms and/or extreme cold for eight provinces and one territory.
Here’s a breakdown of the weather affecting Canadians:
The Fraser Valley in B.C. was issued a snowfall warning by Environment Canada for Tuesday, alerting drivers that 5 cm of snow was on its way, and would change to rain near noon.
Parts of Vancouver Island had their mail service suspended Monday due to snowy conditions.
Avalanche conditions in the Whistler area have resulted in two fatalities so far this ski season, and two hikers were rescued Monday after getting stuck in icy and slippery conditions on Grouse Mountain.
Calgary is on its way to a gradual warmup after several consecutive days of wind chill put temperatures at -20 C and below.
Edmonton is also on its way out of a deep freeze after six straight days of highs below –20 C.
Regina is also looking forward to a gradual warming after almost two weeks of deep freeze, stemming from the polar vortex that had temperatures measuring as low as -38 C.
Saskatoon also lifted its extreme cold warning for the immediate area.
Extreme cold warnings were issued across 18 regions across Manitoba by Environment Canada on Tuesday, including for the city of Winnipeg, which broke cold-weather records over the weekend.
Environment Canada said temperatures of -38.8 Celsius were recorded on Feb. 13., breaking a record set in 1879.
Extreme cold warnings have been issued for the four regions of Kugaaruk, Gjoa Haven, Resolute and Taloyoak in Nunavut by Environment Canada on Tuesday,with wind chill having conditions feeling like -55 into Wednesday morning.
Environment Canada said to watch for cold-related symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain, muscle pain and weakness, numbness and colour change in fingers and toes.
The two regions of Fort Frances – Rainy Lake and Kenora – Nestor Falls in northern Ontario were issued extreme cold warnings by Environment Canada on Tuesday, with wind chill values of -40 continuing into Wednesday morning.
Several southern Ontario regions including Hamilton, Brockville and Niargara were issued winter storm warnings by Environment Canada on Tuesday, as the Greater Toronto Area also found itself inundated with snow.
In several districts, all schools and buses were cancelled Tuesday.
The Toronto District School Board said that all bus services were cancelled in light of the snow storm but schools would remain open, as did the Toronto Catholic District School Board.
Grey-Bruce, which includes the Blue Mountains area, was given a snowfall warning early Tuesday afternoon, with strong winds expected to gust up to 50 km/h.
Ottawa is also digging itself out after a winter storm, where Environment Canada warned up to 25cm of snow could fall before the storm finished.
Vast swaths of Quebec are under both extreme cold and snowfall warnings from Environment Canada as of Tuesday, with 10 to 20 cm expected to fall across the 11 regions listed.
Several Quebec school boards are closed, with temperatures expected to drop to -23 Celsius overnight Tuesday.
Twenty regions in New Brunswick, 24 regions in Newfoundland and Labrador, 23 regions in Nova Scotia, and three regions in P.E.I. are under warnings from Environment Canada on Tuesday as the Maritimes struggle with a winter storm.
The warnings range from snowfall (up to 30 cm in parts of New Brunswick) and winter storm conditions to freezing rain.
The Maritimes can also expect easterly winds with gusts of 30 to 50 km/h until late Wednesday afternoon.
Most of the school boards across the Maritimes cancelled both classes and buses, with some colleges and universities allowing virtual lessons to continue as scheduled, or delayed campus openings.
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More than three quarters of Canadians nearing or in early retirement are worried about their finances, at a time when more and more Canadians plan to age at home for as long as possible, a new survey has revealed.
The survey from Ryerson University’s National Institute on Ageing (NIA),conducted in collaboration with HomeEquity Bank, found that 77 per cent of Canadians within the 55-69 age demographic are worried about their financial health.
Additionally, 79 per cent of respondents aged 55 and older revealed that their retirement income — through RRSPs, pension plans, and old age security — will not be enough to be a comfortable retirement.
“Determining where to live and receive care as we age has been an especially neglected part of retirement financial planning,” Dr. Samir Sinha, NIA director of health policy research, said in a news release.
“These are vital considerations that can also be costly. With the vast majority of Canadians expressing their intention to age at home, within their communities, it is essential that we find both financial and health care solutions to make this option comfortable, safe and secure.”
As the COVID-19 pandemic revealed some shortcomings in the long-term care system, 44 per cent of respondents are planning to age at home, but many don’t fully understand the costs involved, the study notes.
Nearly half of respondents aged 45 and older believe that in-home care for themselves or a loved one would cost about $1,100 per month, while 37 per cent think it would cost about $2,000 per month.
In reality, it actually costs about $3,000 per month to provide in-home care comparable to a long-term care facility, according to Ontario’s Ministry of Health.
Bonnie-Jeanne MacDonald, the NIA’s director of financial security research, said it’s important Canadians understand the true costs of aging while they plan for their future.
“Canadians retiring today are likely going to face longer and more expensive retirements than their parents – solving this disconnect will need better planning by people and innovation from industry and government,” she said.
To help with their financial future, the researchers suggest Canadians should delay receiving any Canada Pension Plan or Quebec Pension Plan payments as the monthly payments increase with year of deferral. For example, someone receiving $1,000 per month at age 60 would receive $2,218.75 per month if they wait until age 70 to begin collecting.
The researchers also suggest leveraging home equity and purchasing private long-term care insurance as ways to help with financial stability for the later years.
U.S. energy transition to create Mexico auto jobs, climate envoy Kerry says
Mexico‘s manufacturing sector stands to benefit from a U.S. transition away from fossil fuels including through the creation of jobs for building electric vehicles, John Kerry, climate adviser to U.S. President Joe Biden, said on Monday.
“Mexico’s industrial base, already deeply integrated with the rest of North America, absolutely stands to benefit from the energy transition,” Kerry said alongside Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in Mexico’s Chiapas state, near the southern border with Guatemala.
Kerry traveled to Mexico to meet with his counterparts ahead of the upcoming United Nations’ COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland, which neither Lopez Obrador nor his foreign minister is expected to attend.
“When we switch from gasoline to electrified vehicles, there are going to be a lot of good-paying jobs here in Mexico because of the connection already of the automobile industry and our two countries,” said Kerry, who visited a flagship reforestation project promoted by Mexico.
The production of automobiles in North America is highly integrated through the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA)
Under Biden and Kerry, the United States has stressed the need for more aggressive action to address global warming. Lopez Obrador, on the other hand, has cut the environment ministry’s budget as part of an austerity drive and dismantled policies promoting private investment in renewable energy.
Research coalition Climate Action Tracker rates Mexico’s overall climate plan as “Highly Insufficient”, saying its policies and actions will “lead to rising, rather than falling, emissions and are not at all consistent with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C temperature limit.”
Lopez Obrador says he will tackle carbon emissions by revitalizing dilapidated hydropower projects under state control and through the tree planting program, called Sembrando Vida, which aims to plant 700,000 trees.
But he has also focused on reviving state-run oil and power generation companies, and his government has prioritized fossil fuels over renewable energy sources for Mexico’s national grid.
Mexico, the second-largest greenhouse gas emitter in Latin America, is seen as vulnerable to climate change and extreme weather patterns, with tropical cyclones and floods battering the country every year.
By 2030, Mexico plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 22% over a business-as-usual scenario. Brazil, the region’s biggest polluter, aims to cut its emissions by 43% by 2030 compared to 2005 levels.
(Reporting by Anthony Esposito and Drazen Jorgic; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Karishma Singh)
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