Employment Law

Heat Dome to bring scorching temperatures across Ontario

A scorching hot sun hanging in a golden sky is seen in the background behind blades of grass.

A prolonged heat wave, or “heat dome,” is set to bring dangerously hot and humid conditions across Ontario starting this week. Environment Canada has issued heat warnings for various regions, including Ottawa, eastern Ontario, and the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), highlighting the health risks associated with this extreme weather event.

What is a Heat Dome?

A heat dome occurs when a high-pressure system traps warm air over a region, leading to prolonged periods of high temperatures. This phenomenon can cause temperatures to rise significantly above normal, resulting in dangerous heat and humidity levels.

Heat warnings across Ontario

  • Ottawa and Eastern Ontario: Starting Monday, temperatures in Ottawa and eastern Ontario are expected to soar between 30 and 35°C, with humidity making it feel like 40 to 45°C. Nighttime will offer little relief, with temperatures remaining between 18 and 23°C and humidex values between 26 and 30°C. Tuesday is forecasted to be the hottest day, with temperatures peaking at 34°C. The heat is expected to taper off by the weekend.
  • Greater Toronto Area: The GTA will experience an “oppressive” heat wave starting Monday, with temperatures climbing to the low to mid-30s°C and humidex values reaching the low to mid-40s°C. The peak is expected from Tuesday to Thursday. The region will see minimal relief at night, with temperatures only dropping to the low to mid-20s°C.
  • Other Affected Areas: Heat warnings are also in effect for London, Waterloo, Guelph, Mississauga, Brampton, Halton Hills, Milton, Durham Region, Niagara, Simcoe County, and other regions across Ontario. Humidex values could make temperatures feel as high as 45°C in these areas.

Health risks and precautions

Environment Canada emphasizes that extreme heat can affect everyone’s health, with greater risks for older adults, infants, young children, pregnant individuals, and those with physical or mental illnesses. Symptoms of heat illness include swelling, rash, cramps, fainting, heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and worsening of chronic conditions.

Precautionary measures

  • Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water and avoid caffeine and alcohol.
  • Seek Cool Places: Utilize air-conditioned spaces or visit public cooling centers.
  • Limit Outdoor Activities: Avoid strenuous activities during peak heat hours.
  • Check on Vulnerable Individuals: Ensure that family members, friends, and neighbors are safe.

In case of heat-related emergencies, call 911 or your local emergency number if someone exhibits symptoms like high body temperature, confusion, cessation of sweating, or unconsciousness.

Additional considerations for employees

For those concerned about working conditions during extreme heat, it’s important to know your rights. Employers are responsible for providing safe working environments. For more information on this topic, please read our blog about working when it’s too hot.

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