Repair crews were working around the clock yesterday to restore electricity to more than 500,000 households in Ontario and Quebec after an ice storm snapped branches, brought down power lines and crimped travel in Canada’s two most populous provinces.
More than 400 flights were canceled yesterday at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, according to the airport’s Web site, with dozens more scrapped in Ottawa and Montreal. The storm left up to 30mm of ice in the Toronto area on Sunday and was expected to dump as much as 10mm in southeastern Quebec yesterday, Environment Canada said.
In Toronto, Canada’s biggest city, about 264,000 Toronto Hydro customers were without power as of 8:42pm on Sunday, the utility said in a message on Twitter.
All streetcar services in the city — on what would have been one of the year’s busiest shopping days — were suspended due to icy power lines, the Toronto Transit Commission said.
“This is truly one of the worst ice storms we’ve seen here in Ontario,” Toronto Hydro chief executive Anthony Haines said at a press briefing.
While all available employees have been deployed, service may not be restored in full until today, the utility said.
Toronto’s East General and Sunnybrook hospitals are operating on emergency generators, as is the city’s water-pumping system, Haines said.
“The top priority now is the hospitals,” Toronto Mayor Rob Ford said at a press conference.
Provincial officials, including those from Emergency Management Ontario, are working with affected municipalities to ensure a coordinated response, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said at a separate press conference on Sunday.
The Ontario government will provide tree harvesters to cities that have requested help, she said.
“I want to assure everyone living in these areas that all available resources are working to keep you and your family safe, and to restore power as quickly as possible,” Wynne said.
Ford said it was too early to declare a state of emergency.
“If it gets really bad in the next 24 hours we could have a state of emergency, but I don’t want to say that right now,” Ford said. “We’re not in that situation quite yet.”
Ice is building up on some transformers, which could trigger “catastrophic” equipment failures, Haines said.
“It’s not just a matter of going in and restoring the power lines,” Haines said. “Now we’re going to be replacing poles, replacing transformers at the top of some of these poles, so it’s going to be a major event that is going to last days for us to be able to get the power back up.”
Hydro One, another Toronto-based utility, said in a statement that about 120,000 of its customers had no power.
“Crews are finding tree branches and power lines coated with more than an inch of ice, so restoring power is slow going,” Hydro One director of lines Greg Towns said.
PowerStream, a utility in the York region north of the city, said about 57,000 customers were without power. Enersource, which is based in the city of Mississauga, had about 2,800 clients affected by the outages, while Horizon Utilities, in Hamilton, had about 30,000.
PowerStream said its service would probably be restored within 48 hours, while Horizon said outages may last as long as 72 hours.
In Quebec, about 51,000 Hydro-Quebec customers were without electricity, the Montreal-based company said on its Web site.
‘SERIOUS QUESTIONS’: Three US senators sent a letter to the US commerce secretary asking whether the project ‘takes into consideration national security requirements’ US Senator Chuck Schumer and two other Democratic colleagues have written to top US administration officials asking for details of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd’s (TSMC) plan to build a US$12 billion fab in Arizona. Hsinchu-based TSMC on Thursday last week announced that it would build a plant to make 5 nanometer chips by 2024 that would have the capacity to produce 20,000 semiconductor wafers per month. The world’s biggest contract chipmaker already has one chipmaking fab in Camas, Washington, and design centers in Austin, Texas, and San Jose, California. It said it planned to start construction in Arizona next year and
VULNERABLE: Many women do not report sexual harassment by their landlord over fears they could lose the roof over their head, an expert said A growing number of landlords are asking tenants for sex in exchange for housing as COVID-19 lockdowns and job cuts have left many struggling to pay their rent, housing experts said. A survey by the National Fair Housing Alliance of more than 100 fair housing groups combating discrimination across the US found that 13 percent had seen an increase in sexual harassment complaints during the pandemic. “If I did not have sex with him, he was going to put me out,” one woman facing eviction by her property manager told the alliance in an podcast on its Web site. “As a single
MOM’S LONG CAMPAIGN: Mao Yin had been brought up in Mianyang, Sichuan Province, without any idea that he was the target of a decades-long, high-profile search A Chinese man who was stolen from his family as a toddler has been reunited with his parents after 32 years. Mao Yin (毛寅), then two-and-a-half years old, was snatched in 1988 when he was walking home from nursery with his father. His parents finally embraced him again on Monday in Xian, where he was born. After Mao vanished, his mother Li Jingzhi (李靜芝) quit her job and launched a decades-long search for her son, that included sending out more than 100,000 flyers and appearing on numerous TV shows. That long campaign helped 29 other families find their own missing children and made
HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES? An institute of the Chinese Ministry of Public Security and a company are to be sanctioned over ‘human rights violations and abuses’ The US Department of Commerce on Friday said that it would sanction a Chinese government institute and eight companies over alleged human rights abuses against Uighurs and other minorities in China’s western Xinjiang region. “These nine parties are complicit in human rights violations and abuses committed in China’s campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, forced labor and high-technology surveillance against Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs and other members of Muslim minority groups in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region,” the department said in a statement. The Chinese Ministry of Public Security’s Institute of Forensic Science and Aksu Huafu Textiles Co are to be sanctioned “for