storm.response

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne announces a compensation plan for people who lost food to spoilage during last week's ice storm. (Genevieve Tomney/CBC)

Ontario retailers and the provincial government are offering gift cards to compensate residents who lost food to spoilage during power outages caused by last week's ice storm.

Premier Kathleen Wynne announced Monday that the Ontario government will match corporate donations up to a maximum of $100,000. The money will go toward gift cards for people struggling to cover the cost of food lost during the storm, which caused widespread and prolonged power outages over the Christmas holiday.

Loblaw put forward a $25,000 donation for the program, which was matched by the provincial government.

The following retailers have also stepped forward with $25,000 donations of their own, each matched by the province including:

  • Shoppers Drug Mart.
  • Metro.
  • Sobeys.
  • Coppas Fresh Maket has also donated $5,000 in gift cards.

A news release from the province says the Daily Bread Food bank will coordinate distribution of the gift cards in Toronto.

"The initiative will be expanded to other affected municipalities as needs are identified," a government news release says.

The gift cards will be available for pick up at one of the 15 Ontario Works Toronto offices between Tuesday Dec. 31. and Friday Jan. 3. Offices will extend their hours Thursday Jan. 2 to 7 p.m. 

For a complete list of Ontario works offices locations, click here or refer to the bottom of the page.

Wynne also delivered food baskets to some east end doorsteps this morning.

But some residents like Zoe Chilco say the visit would have been useful days ago.

"It's pretty hard to say what you really think when someone is giving you something, obviously making a gesture" she said. "A food basket is a little bit after the fact though when you haven't been able to cook or eat all week."

Other details about the program:

  • Residents who've had a prolonged power outage and who need help will be able to collect a gift card at one of 15 Ontario Works Toronto offices beginning tomorrow and ending Friday.

  • Families in need will be eligible to receive a $100 gift card. Individuals in need will be eligible to receive a $50 gift card.
  • Residents are asked to bring confirmation of their address and will be asked to declare the number of people in their household.

Wynne also praised residents for "pulling together" during the ice storm by helping neighbours left without heat or power, in many cases for days, in freezing temperatures.

"Many people who were strangers nine days ago, are no longer strangers today," she said.

Some Toronto residents have complained that communication during the storm was inadequate, with many left not knowing when their power would be restored.

Wynne said Monday the province will review the emergency response during the storm and look at ways it can be improved.

Ontario Works offices:

  • Golden Mile | 1880 Eglinton Ave. East
  • Lawrence Square | 700 Lawrence Ave. W. East Tower, 3rd Floor, Suite 330
  • Consilium Place | 100 Consilium Place 10th Floor
  • Attwell | 220 Atwell Drive Suite 4
  • North York East | 20 Lesmill Road
  • Scarborough West | 1225 Kennedy Road Unit 1
  • York/Humber | 605 Rogers Rd,
  • Scarborough North | 325 Milner Avenue, 9th floor
  • Beaches | 1631 Queen Street East
  • Wellesley Place |  111 Wellesley Street East
  • Etobicoke South |  779 The Queensway
  • High Park Parkdale | 1900 Dundas Street 
  • North York Central | 1117 Finch Avenue West
  • Metro Hall | 214 Wellington Street West
  • Yonge Eglinton | 150 Eglinton Avenue East Suite 900