02/26/2014 02:45 EST | Updated 04/28/2014 05:59 EDT

Ontario offers up to $190M to help cities with ice storm costs

The Ontario government says it will offer up to $190 million in one-time funding to municipalities to help them deal with the clean-up and recovery from the December ice storm.

On Wednesday, Municipal Affairs Minister Linda Jeffrey said the extraordinary nature of the ice storm has prompted the government to step in.

"The effects of the storm were substantial and our response will also be substantial," she told reporters at Queen's Park.

Jeffrey said Ontario will create an assistance program to reimburse municipalities for certain costs, such as the operation of warming centres and the clearing of storm-related debris.

The full details of the program are still being worked out.

"We anticipate that it would cover 100 per cent of the costs that are deemed eligible," Jeffrey said.

Jeffrey said that she has reached out to the federal ministry of public safety and is waiting for a response.

The December ice storm knocked out power to more than 800,000 Ontario customers — including 300,000 customers in Toronto alone.