Prepare for extreme cold

While working outdoors, travelling to work, or engaging in outdoor winter activities, people living across Canada annually face severe cold weather conditions that can affect their health. Winter weather conditions can quickly become dangerous and even deadly with little to no warning. In fact, during an average year, more people in Canada die from exposure to cold weather than from lightning, windstorms, and tornadoes combined. You can protect yourself and others from the harsh winter elements by being prepared.

Why prepare for extreme cold

Canada has one of the most severe winter climates in the world. The average winter temperatures from region to region can differ greatly. Depending on where you live, average daytime temperatures in January and February might range from 4°C to -15°C. In many places, they can even plummet as low as -30°C to -40°C for a few days or even weeks at a time. These extreme cold temperatures can pose serious health risks including windburn, frostbite, and hypothermia. While anyone without adequate clothing can be at risk from extreme cold, some groups face higher risks.

What to do

Before extreme cold

Be sure to prepare yourself and educate your household in the event of extreme cold.

During extreme cold

Find out what to do if extreme cold is forecast for your region.

After extreme cold

Watch for signs of illness following an extreme cold event.

Where to start

You can protect members of your household and your residence by learning more about extreme cold, and by taking proper precautions. Make sure that your household is prepared.


Wind chill and cold weather

Learn about cold weather safety.

Health effects of extreme cold

Learn about the health effects of cold.

Criteria for extreme cold warnings

Learn about cold weather warnings in your area (warnings vary across Canada).

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