The Weather Network – Late-season snow threatens tricky travel across Ontario, Quebec into Tuesday


Monday, April 18th 2022, 8:10 am – A wintry system threatens 5-10 cm of snow across parts of southern Ontario and Quebec through Tuesday.

A complicated and late-season wintry storm threatens some tricky travel across parts of Ontario and Quebec into Tuesday. The messy system will move in to start out the week on Monday, with the chance for some accumulating and shovelable snow — no small feat for this late in April. Winter weather travel advisories line sections of southern Ontario, warning of reduced visibilities and slick surfaces such as roads and sidewalks. More on the timing and impacts expected, below.

MONDAY INTO TUESDAY: MESSY WINTRY STORM PUSHES SNOW ACROSS CENTRAL CANADA

A dynamic pattern sweeping across the eastern half of Canada and the United States will lead to a complicated and wintry set-up for Ontario and Quebec over the next couple of days.

A tricky storm track and delicate temperature gradient will mean the difference between a dreary rain and a shovelable snow for just about everyone between Windsor and Quebec City.

ONSouth (1)

The system begins to push into southern Ontario Monday afternoon, bringing increasing cloud cover through the day with precipitation breaking out from west to east across the region.

Lower elevations and areas near the lake will see a mix of rain and snowflakes, with the chance for a bit of snow accumulation on elevated or grassy surfaces. But higher elevation areas, including the Niagara Escarpment, will see marginal temperatures tip below the freezing mark, allowing for more significant accumulations of 5-10 cm to pile up.

“The most significant commute impacts across the Greater Toronto Area will likely be Monday evening, with wet roads and the risk for icy ramps and overpasses,” warns Michael Carter, a meteorologist at The Weather Network. “The snow that will stick will be more likely for north and westbound travelers moving into the higher elevations.”

ONGTASnow (2)

Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) issued a winter weather travel advisory for sections of the south, with the threat for significantly reduced visibilities in heavy snow, and snowfall rates peaking up to 3 cm per hour. Drivers are urged to adjust to the changing road conditions, and to take extra care when walking or driving in affected areas.

Flurries and gusty winds will linger through Tuesday as well, leading to periods of low visibility and changing conditions.

A stronger, secondary low will develop later Monday, tapping into deeper moisture and bringing more significant impacts to parts of Quebec through Tuesday.

Montreal may see 5-10 cm of snowfall, with the higher terrain outside of the St. Lawrence Valley seeing 10-20+ cm through Tuesday.

QCSnowGusts

This will be accompanied by gusty winds, leading to periods of hazardous winter-like travel conditions.

There may even be some ice pellets for the extreme sections of eastern Quebec in the afternoon Tuesday. Precipitation will begin to wind down in the province from west to east through the evening and overnight.

ONQCSnow (9)

Tuesday will see lingering light snow across southern Ontario that should subside through the morning hours. Sporadic showers may be prevalent in parts of cottage country and eastern areas in the afternoon, before diminishing in the evening.

Looking ahead, another system could affect the region by Thursday morning before temperatures moderate toward the end of the week.

ThuIcons

We’re watching the potential for a few days of warmer weather during the final days of April, but a cooler pattern is expected for early May as a blocking pattern is expected to rebuild.

Stay tuned to The Weather Network for the latest forecast updates across Central Canada.



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Winter weather travel advisories in place for much of southern Ontario


Environment Canada issued winter weather travel advisories for nearly all of southern Ontario ahead of the potential for five to 15 centimetres of snow, as well as blowing snow, Thursday evening into Friday morning.

Read more:

Remaining Brampton residents impacted by flood allowed to return home temporarily

The advisories stretch from Prescott and Russell in the north to the province’s southernmost tip in Windsor-Essex—Chatham-Kent, covering all regions in between save for Parry Sound-Muskoka, Burk’s Falls-Bayfield Inlet, Algonquin and Renfrew-Pembroke-Barry’s Bay, as of 9 a.m. Thursday.

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“A developing low-pressure centre will bring a swath of snow to the region this evening into Friday morning,” meteorologists said in the advisory.

Snowfall amounts of five to 15 cm are possible, depending on location. Blowing snow is also anticipated.

The weather could lead to hazardous driving conditions, the national weather agency said, and drivers are urged to “adjust travel plans accordingly.”

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.





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Ontario family forced to pay $32,900 bill because of travel insurance confusion


An Ontario couple said they were shocked after learning they’re on the hook for a $32,900 air ambulance bill because of confusion surrounding their travel insurance.

“I’m so disappointed. I’m broken and sad,” Maple, Ont. woman Freda Burton told CTV News Toronto.

Freda’s husband, Vashni Burton, went to Jamaica in December of 2020 for a prolonged stay. While he was there in August 2021, he suffered a stroke and Freda flew down to be by his side.

Concerned for his care, they decided fly him home from Jamaica to Vaughan by air ambulance because they though they had travel coverage through an insurance plan. 

The cost was almost $33,000 and they thought they would be reimbursed when they got home. 

After Vashni Burton was flown home, the couple submitted the bill to their travel insurance company, but they were told they did not have the coverage to pay for the air ambulance. 

Freda Burton was told her plan allowed for travel coverage for 30 days, but that her husband had been in Jamaica for more than eight months.

“They only cover for the first thirty days. They didn’t cover him because he was in Jamaica for such a long period, they don’t cover that,” Freda Burton said. 

Martin Firestone, the president of Travel Secure Inc., said there are common misconceptions when it comes to some insurance plans that offer coverage for travel. 

Airplane

Firestone said many group insurance plans offer travel insurance, but they may be capped at 30 days of coverage. After that a person would have to return home, but once they get home they could leave on another trip and once again have another 30 days of coverage. 

However, Firestone said if you’re out of country for more than 30 days at a time, you can purchase additional insurance.

“If you don’t purchase additional insurance and you are (out of the country) on day 30 or 31 without coverage, that’s a pretty scary thought, because if there is a claim it will not be paid,” said Firestone.

Firestone advises everyone to triple check insurance coverage before taking a trip. 

Burton thought she did have insurance and was unaware of the 30 day limit and is still hopeful a portion of the air ambulance bill can be reimbursed. 

Firestone says many of his clients are deciding to travel again and he says many insurance polices do allow for COVID-19 coverage, but plans can have differences and limitations so make sure you know what’s covered and what’s not, before you go. 





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Planning a staycation? You can claim a tax credit if you travel in Ontario this year


The provincial government’s “staycation tax credit” is now in effect for Ontarians who plan getaways within the province this year.

Announced Nov. 4, the credit aims to boost local business by offering people who book overnight stays in Ontario for anytime in 2022 a return of 20 per cent on accommodation expenses of up to $1,000 per person or $2,000 per family.

Some businesses welcomed the incentive — which works out to a maximum return of $200 per person or $400 per family — saying they hope it can help those hit hardest during COVID-19 restrictions.  

“Everybody suffered,” said Renda Abdo, owner of the Lakeside Motel in Prince Edward County, about 200 kilometres northeast of Toronto. “People are still very unsure about travelling on planes and too far away from home, so I think it’s perfect timing.”

Geoffrey Wild (left), shown with his partner Dominique Wild at The Wild Tart in Elora, Ont., says he hopes the province’s new tax credit will boost business. (Submitted by Geoffrey Wild)

Geoffrey Wild, owner of The Wild Tart pastry shop in Elora, just northwest of Guelph, said the credit could help boost local tourism, which would help a variety of businesses.

“The recent [Omicron] variant, the virus, things like that remind us it’s nice we can travel locally, travel around our province,” he said

Too late for some

But for some, the credit comes too late.

“They should have introduced it way long ago,” said Barry Choi, creator of Moneywehave.com, a personal finance and budget travel blog.  “[Businesses] could have used those dollars in 2021 when things were really hurting.” 

Choi said he and his family have done their Ontario travelling already, having just returned home to Toronto from a trip to Ottawa. 

“I’m going to be looking to travel outside Canada,” he said. “And I can think of a lot of people who are in the same boat.” 

In October, Canada lifted a blanket advisory that had been in place since March 2020 against all non-essential travel outside the country.

More recently, to prevent travel-related infections amid mounting case counts and spread of the omicron variant of the coronavirus, the federal government has been advising Canadians to avoid all non-essential international travel.

‘This province is the same size as many countries’

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) says it supports Ontario’s 2022 travel tax credit.

“It makes sense to delay it to a time where Ontarians could comfortably and confidently take advantage of it,” said Ryan Mallough, senior director of provincial affairs for Ontario with the CFIB.

Wild said Ontario offers something new to see, even for those who have already done some exploring in the province.

“To everybody that says, ‘I spent my Ontario travel money,’ — my God, this province is the same size as many countries,” he said. “So you can’t tell me you’ve done all your travel yet.” 

Eligible expenses

On its website, the provincial government lays out the details around eligibility, including that Ontarians can claim the credit for accommodation expenses for “a leisure [not business-related] stay of less than a month,” at a short-term accommodation, such as a: hotel, motel, resort, lodge, bed-and-breakfast establishment, cottage or campground.

The stay must occur between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2022, the province says, “regardless of timing of payment.”



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Travel news: Ontario experiences by rail, a connections-made-easier booking platform, Montreal’s wintry outdoor dance floor


On the rails

Road tripping isn’t the only way to wheel around the province. This winter, the Regional Tourism Organization of South Eastern Ontario (RTO 9) has joined up with Via Rail and the new Toronto-based travel company Landsby to create a series of “Rail + Roam” packages (landsby.ca/rail-and-roam). The experiences cater to varying interests, from wining and dining to wellness, and cover destinations like Prince Edward County, Kingston and Gananoque.

Connecting the dots

Air Transat has launched a virtual interlining platform called Connectair by Air Transat, which enables travellers to combine a flight on the Canadian airline with one on a partner airline (such as easyJet or Avianca). The service effectively adds more than 135 new destination options across Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, and Central and South America. Should one of your flights be delayed or cancelled, Dohop (the technology partner) will provide a replacement flight at no extra cost, or if there’s no alternative, will refund the unused part of the booking.

Parks and rec

In February, Parks Canada will open reservations for backcountry hiking on Fathom Five National Marine Park's Flowerpot Island.

It’s not too early to start plotting your summer camp plans: Parks Canada will begin taking reservations in January and February for visits between April 2022 and March 2023. Exact reservation dates vary by site, so check pc.gc.ca and take note in your calendar. Still looking for gifting ideas for your favourite outdoor enthusiast? You can get a Parks Canada Discovery Pass — which grants a year’s worth of unlimited admission to more than 80 places nationwide — in time for the holidays if ordered by Dec. 9.

Out in the cold

Igloofest will bring its popular outdoor party back to Montreal's Old Port this winter.

Promising the chilliest dance floor in the world, Igloofest will bring the outdoor party to Montreal’s Old Port over four weekends, from Jan. 13 to Feb. 5, 2022. It’s the 15th anniversary of the electronic music festival, which will draw artists from near and far, with Bonobo, Diplo, Fatboy Slim and Richie Hawtin among the headliners.

Sign up at thestar.com/newsletters to get our weekly Travel Headlines newsletter in your inbox. Travellers are reminded to check on public health restrictions that could affect their plans.

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Ontario sees 927 new COVID-19 cases as Ford calls for travel ban in response to new variant


Ontario reported 927 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday — the most on a single day in the province in nearly 10 weeks — while Premier Doug Ford called on the federal government to ban flights from countries where a new virus variant has been found.

In a statement, Ford said he was briefed this morning by Dr. Kieran Moore, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, on a recently discovered variant that could potentially be resistant to existing vaccines and even more transmissible than the delta variant, which now accounts for nearly 100 per cent of all new cases in Ontario. 

A slew of nations have moved to stop air travel from southern Africa after cases of the new variant, known as B.1.1.529, were confirmed in South Africa and Botswana. Israel has also reported a single case in a person who had travelled there from Malawi.

The World Health Organization has cautioned against taking such actions until more information is known about the variant. Its experts are meeting Friday to assess the risks, which are largely unknown at this point.

The Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also discouraged travel bans on countries that reported the new variant that was first detected in South Africa, arguing such bans have not had a “meaningful outcome” so far in the pandemic.

Ford said he contacted the federal government to his express his “extreme concern about the risks [the variant] poses and the need for immediate action today.”

Ford has asked that the federal government ban flights and passengers from countries of concern.

“Anyone arriving before the ban is implemented should be tested and quarantined, including the many passengers arriving today,” he said in the statement. 

“Out of an abundance of caution, we must also reintroduce point-of-arrival testing for all passengers arriving to Canada, regardless of where they’re coming from.”

Ford added that he has instructed to Moore to expand surveillance of new COVID cases in the province and update planning to “to ensure we are ready for any outcome.”

Public Health Ontario said in a statement that the new variant has not been detected in Ontario.

It said the province is tracking variants and monitoring for new ones, including B.1.1.529, and genomic sequencing is being done on 100 per cent of eligible virus samples.

17 schools closed due to COVID

Meanwhile, today’s case count is a roughly 17 per cent jump over the same time last week, when Ontario logged 793 infections.

The seven-day average of daily cases is up to 711.

Moore said on Thursday that he expects cases to continue rising into the new year, and that the province accounted for increases in its latest reopening plan.

The number of COVID patients requiring critical care has held relatively steady. As of yesterday evening, there were 140 people being treated for COVID-related illnesses in ICUs. That’s up from 128 last Thursday.

The Ministry of Health also reported the deaths of six more people with COVID-19, pushing the official toll to 9,991.

Here are some other key pandemic indicators and figures from the ministry’s daily provincial update:

New school-related cases: 141, including 132 students and eight staff. There are currently 17 schools closed due to COVID-19, up from nine last Friday — an 88 per cent increase. There are 178 concurrent outbreaks of COVID in schools, about 93 per cent of which are in elementary schools. 

Tests in the previous 24 hours: 33,901, with a three per cent positivity rate.

Active cases: 5,807, the most since Sept. 27.

Vaccinations: 19,820 doses were administered by public health units on Thursday. Of those, 12,228 were first doses, the most first shots on a single day since Oct. 9. The jump is due to the campaign to vaccinate children aged five to 11 beginning in earnest. 

Jason Berman and his daughter, Esther Shi Berman, 10, listen to a health-care provider at a Humber River Hospital-run COVID vaccination clinic, in Toronto. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)



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