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January 2, 2014

Government hands out gift cards to Ontario ice storm victims

The government of Ontario is continuing to hand out grocery gift cards to Toronto residents hit by an ice storm between 20 to 23 December.

By Ellie Chambers

The government of Ontario is continuing to hand out grocery gift cards to Toronto residents hit by an ice storm between 20 to 23 December.

On 31 December, CAD160,000 ($151,000) was handed out in gift cards and hundreds of storm victims had to be turned away after queuing for hours at 15 locations across Toronto.

Major grocery chains Loblaws, Sobeys, Metro and Shoppers Drug Mart each donated CAD25,000 in gift cards while Coppas Fresh Market gave CAD5,000. The state has paid for the rest.

The government said the demand was ‘overwhelming’ and that cards should be reserved for those most in need.

It also said it would expand the cards to people outside Toronto over the next few days and the city of Hamilton is also said to be interested in rolling out a similar scheme.

Families can claim a gift card worth $100 whereas individuals can claim one worth $50.

The ice storm caused power failures that affected 600,000 customers in southern Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick.

Although the majority have had power restored to them, around 2,000 are still waiting to be reconnected.

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