As Toronto Hydro crews work to restore power to about 400 customers still without electricity, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne announced Monday more than $200,000 in gift cards will be handed out to people in need who had to throw out spoiled food as a result of last week’s ice storm.

Wynne said grocery giants Loblaw, Metro and Sobeys have each donated $25,000 in grocery cards. Shoppers Drug Mart is also donating $25,000 in gift cards and Coppas Fresh Market is giving $5,000 in grocery cards. All donations will be matched by the Ontario government, to a maximum of $100,000.

"This is an ongoing process of private sectors stepping up to the plate and working with the government to do something to help people," Wynne told reporters Monday.

Families in need will be eligible to receive $100 gift card while individuals will be eligible to receive a $50 card. Toronto residents who have experience a prolonged power outage and need assistance will be able to collect a grocery card at one of the 15 Ontario Works offices starting Tuesday and ending Friday.

Wynne said the food compensation plan will be expanded to other municipalities also affected by the ice storm as needs are identified.

Restoring power

At an earlier news conference on Monday, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford said he is hoping power will be restored by day’s end to the customers still waiting for power. As of late Monday, fewer than 400 customers were still in the dark.

At the height of the storm, as many as 600,000 customers in Ontario were left in the dark after splintered tree limbs downed power lines.

Toronto Hydro estimates the tab to fully restore power as a result of the storm will be approximately $10 million, or $1 million per day. Ford has called a special city council meeting to request financial aid from the province.

Wynne said the provincial government has not assessed how much funding Toronto may receive, if any.

Across the city, Ford said Emergency Medical Services and Toronto Fire Services are back to normal. He said 98 forestry crews were hitting the streets Monday as clean-up efforts continue. Approximately 680 customers have had repairs done to their homes as a result of damage sustained during the storm.

Ford said 72 people stayed at Toronto's warming centres last night, two of which will close today.

"I want to thank our staff for a phenomenal job they have done. I want to thank the residents of this city for their patience during this terrible storm. We have never had a storm like this in Toronto’s history," Ford told reporters Monday morning at the last ice-storm news conference.

Elsewhere in Ontario, approximately 1,500 homes and business are still waiting for power.

Other power utilities:

  • Hydro One
  • PowerStream: Less than 150 customers in York Region remain affected by the ice storm
  • Veridian: As of Saturday, approximately 100 customers are still without electricity

With files from The Canadian Press