The oppressive weather has enveloped much of Central and Eastern Canada since the Canada Day long weekend. "Humidex values will be in the mid to high thirties today, and near low forties for Wednesday and Thursday".
A fifth fatality may also have been caused by the heat, they said. The deaths were not concentrated in any specific municipality.
University of Waterloo climate scientist Blair Feltmate says the heat wave can't be directly attributed to climate change, but that suggesting the two aren't linked would be like arguing that no particular home run can be attributed to steroids when a baseball player on a hitting streak is caught doping. "We're inviting the population to be vigilant for the next two days - for themselves as well as those close to them".
"It could save a life", Genereux said.
Last week, Environment Canada issued a heat warning for the GTA, calling it the "most significant heat event in the past few years".
"At the moment, it fits exactly with the features we've described: people with chronic diseases, mental health issues, people who live alone, people without air conditioning who live in apartments of more than four or six stories and obviously, in areas where there is lots of heat", she said.
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"It's a heat wave for sure, and it's stifling", he told CBC Toronto.
Montreal health officials said there have been 12 heat-related deaths since the weekend, while authorities in the Eastern Townships region east of Montreal are attributing another five deaths to the weather.
The city is in the midst of an "extreme heat event", Environment Canada said in its warning on Sunday.
The ambulance corporation says it has received 1,200 calls per day in Montreal and nearby Laval over the past four days, which is 30 per cent more than on usual busy days.
Urgences-Santé president Nicola D'Ulisse says the service is overwhelmed and has reached the limits of what it can provide.