Dealing with freezing rain or ice accumulation

Dealing with freezing rain or ice accumulation

Heavy rain/snow, freezing rain and powerful winds in your community may result in power outages caused by falling trees and power lines. It is important to be prepared so that you can stay safe after an ice storm.

On this page

Stay informed—weather warnings and updates

Monitor local media and weather reports for updates so that you are aware of possible road closures, emergency messages from authorities or possible flooding.

Stay off the road

Freezing rain and ice accumulation can make roads slippery in seconds. If you can, wait until roads have been salted and use major routes.

Make sure to check if weather conditions have negatively affected local transit in your area before heading out.


Prepare emergency kits

A good rule of thumb is to have supplies to sustain you and your family for at least 72 hours. These supplies should include everything you need to stay safe and take care of yourself, including medications and cash (in case ATMs are not accessible).


Check the drainage system (storm sewer) on your street

Large rain storms can cause flooding, especially in low-lying areas, and can also cause sewers to back up. If you experience road flooding, contact 3-1-1. This is the City of Toronto's 24-hour call centre which provides information on programs and services offered by the City of Toronto.

In the event of a power outage

Each Toronto Community Housing property is different. Some buildings have emergency generators and some do not. To report a power failure in your building:

  • Call Toronto Hydro at 416-542-8000
  • Call the Client Care Centre at 416-981-5500. The Client Care Centre is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Other safety tips in the event of a power outage are:

  • Never use generators, camp stoves, or other gas or propane devices inside your home or other enclosed spaces. They can create a build-up of carbon monoxide, which is an odourless, colourless gas that can cause serious illness and even death. If you are feeling light-headed or nauseated and suspect CO poisoning, seek medical attention as soon as possible.
  • Avoid opening your freezer or fridge doors unless absolutely necessary.
  • Use wind-up or battery powered light sources. If you must burn candles, always use sturdy candle holders, never leave lit candles unattended and extinguish candles before going to bed. Remember to keep matches and lighters out of children's reach.

Be alert and be safe

If you must go outside during an ice storm, be aware of ice sheets and ice-covered branches or wires, which could break and fall under the weight.

You should also look out for any damaged power lines, gas lines or electrical systems. They are very dangerous and can be hidden under branches or other debris.

Walk like a penguin on icy surfaces: take small steps and balance from side to side.

In an emergency, always call 911

  • Toronto Hydro Power Disruption Hotline: 416-542-8000
  • Enbridge Gas Distribution Emergency Number: 1-866-763-5427 
    • ALWAYS call to report possible gas leaks (smell of rotten eggs).

Non-emergency phone numbers

Fire: 416-338-9000

Police: 416-808-2222

Additional resources