New emergency generators to bring increased heat and light for Toronto Community Housing residents during emergencies

New emergency generators to bring increased heat and light for Toronto Community Housing residents during emergencies

December 21, 2014

​​TORONTO, December 21, 2014—Toronto Community Housing is announcing a plan to replace aging emergency generators in hundreds of buildings across the city, ensuring that tenants will have increased heat and light during extreme events like the 2013 ice storm. 

Under the 2015 capital plan, 20 buildings will receive new natural gas generators to help residents comfortably stay in their homes during prolonged power outages. If Toronto Community Housing receives the funding it is seeking from the federal and provincial governments to continue its capital repair program, more than 180 aging emergency generators in buildings across the city will be replaced in the coming few years. 

Toronto Community Housing highrises currently have emergency generators that provide some power during an outage. The new generators will provide light and heat to common areas and some heat to individual apartments, as well as powering elevators, doors to parking garages and security systems. The natural gas generators are designed to run for extended periods of time and will not require manual refueling, allowing staff resources to be focused on residents during a prolonged emergency like the ice storm. 

Over the past year, Toronto Community Housing has completed a full assessment of its successful response to the 2013 ice storm in order to identify areas where service for residents could be further strengthened during a prolonged emergency. Steps taken include:

  • Increasing the stockpile of emergency supplies, including blankets, water and back-up emergency generators;
  • Investing in a disaster recovery site that will allow continued operations should the primary IT systems fail; and
  • Implementing a strengthened fan-out process to notify and deploy staff during emergencies.
During the 2013 ice storm, over one-third of Toronto Community Housing homes experienced at least one power outage. Toronto Community Housing employees knocked on every affected resident’s door, staffed buildings 24-hours a day and delivered thousands of blankets, flashlights, hot drinks, food and supplies to residents in need. 

“During last year’s ice storm, people at Toronto Community Housing came together as a team to help our residents. Our staff knocked on every door in communities that lost power, connected vulnerable residents with community services, delivered thousands of blankets and warm meals, and helped residents get to warming centres. We are continuously looking at ways to improve our service to our residents, and these new emergency generators will do exactly that.”  

—Greg Spearn, President and CEO (Interim), Toronto Community Housing 

More Information

About Toronto Community Housing
Toronto Community Housing​ is Canada’s largest social housing provider. We provide clean, safe, affordable homes to 58,500 households with low and moderate incomes, in neighbourhoods across the city. Working with our partners, we are bringing some of the brightest minds in the industry together to turn the challenges posed by our aging housing stock into an opportunity to build better homes, better neighbourhoods, and a better Toronto for all.


Media Contact: Sara Goldvine, 416-981-4252 or