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Ontario government helps ice storm victims

Ontario government helps ice storm victimsA Toronto Hydro crew member works to restore power to a house in a Scarborough neighbourhood on Friday, December 27, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

TORONTO - As utilities work to reconnect the few remaining customers still without power due to last month's ice storm, the Ontario government is helping those who saw food spoiled.

The province is distributing gift cards in Toronto today and Friday for those who lost food due to spoilage and can't replace it without financial assistance.

The government describes the demand for the aid as overwhelming, noting $160,000 in cards were handed out last Tuesday, and says the cards should be reserved for those most in need.

It cautions that supplies are limited and long lineups at Ontario Works offices are expected.

The government also says the cards will be expanded to communities outside of Toronto over the next few days.

The ice storm cut the power to more than 600,000 customers in southern Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick.

More than 300,000 in the Greater Toronto Area lost their electricity on Dec. 21 and several dozen are still waiting to be reconnected.

Ontario's Hydro One website lists fewer than 500 customers without electricity outside the GTA, while the Quebec Hydro website says about 1,400 customers are still without power.

New Brunswick Power says it has restored power to all but a handful of customers.

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