Skip to main content

Edmonton activates extreme weather response to protect the vulnerable as cold sets in


Edmonton has activated its extreme weather response for the first time this cold weather season as of 8 a.m. on Tuesday to help keep vulnerable members of the population safe.

The threshold for activating the extreme weather response is temperatures of -20 C with wind chill for at least three consecutive nights, and shelter utilization rates over 90 per cent.

The activation includes several components.

Edmonton Transit Service:

  • ETS will provide dedicated overnight transportation on three routes between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. to transport people to shelters with space.
  • ETS buses will also stop at all bus stops, including most express routes, to pick up anyone waiting when the weather is -20 C and below with windchill.
  • Maps of the bus routes are available online.

Expanded overnight shelter spaces:

  • The Al Rashid Mosque will make 75 extra overnight spaces available to shelter vulnerable people during the extreme weather response.

Day services:

  • The Bissell Centre’s Community Space will be open seven days a week, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. The Community Space offers supports like laundry, showers, meals, Indigenous cultural supports, mental health, and housing supports.
  • Boyle Street Community Services Community Services will be open seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., offering housing supports, Indigenous cultural supports, and showers.
  • Boyle Street Community Services will operate its Winter Warming Bus, which provides food, winter clothing, blankets, and transportation to warming centres and shelters.
  • The Encampment Response Team will conduct wellness checks and only address high-risk encampments during the activation.
  • All Edmonton Public Library locations and recreation facilities will be open to the public for warming purposes during regular operating hours.

What Edmontonians can do:

  • Learn to recognize the signs of hypothermia, which include uncontrollable shivering, drowsiness, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss or slurred speech. A person with hypothermia may be unconscious or may not seem to have a pulse or be breathing.
  • Call 911 for someone in serious distress.
  • Call 211 and press 3 for 24/7 crisis diversion non-emergency support for shelter, intoxication, or mental health.
  • Donate money or warm clothes and winter gear to agencies that need them. A full list can be found online.

The city says LRT stations will not be open as part of the extreme weather response as they lack amenities such as heat and adequate washroom facilities.

The extreme weather response is a partnership between the city, Homeward trust, and more than 25 partner agencies.

The extreme weather response will remain activated until Thursday, Dec. 8 at 8 a.m. with the potential to extend it if the weather remains cold. Top Stories

Stay Connected