Ontario coroner investigating three possible heat-related deaths

Dr. Dirk Huyer - Coroner for the Province of Ontario.

TORONTO — Ontario’s chief coroner says three recent deaths in the province may have been related to heat, compared to dozens already reported in Quebec.

Dr. Dirk Huyer told reporters on Tuesday that the three deaths were reported over the last four days.

Quebec health authorities have said that up to 70 people died from heat-related complications in a recent heat wave, including 34 in Montreal alone.

Huyer says the numbers are so different in part because Ontario performs autopsies before declaring a cause of death, and it can take months for those results to come in.

He says Ontario also defines heat-related deaths differently than Quebec — it only counts a death as heat-related if the temperature is the direct or major cause.

Quebec officials have said many of those who died were already suffering from chronic conditions that were worsened by the heat.

Last week’s heat wave in Quebec and Ontario saw temperatures reach over 35 C, with humidex values in the mid-40s.


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