In the days before Christmas, a huge ice storm affected the northern states in New England and the southern provinces of Canada. Usually, a power outage of several days duration that affected at least 300,000 households in a metropolitan area would warrant a local emergency declaration. But not so in Toronto.
See this article for the outcome there, given the fact that the mayor did not want to share power with his deputy, or anyone else. Toronto Ice Storm Leaves Hundreds of Thousands with Power.
In the U.S., our process for requesting assistance from a higher level of government entails a local emergency declaration, then the locality requests assistance from state government, and the state asks for a declaration from the federal government. ( Under very special circumstances, the feds may initiate assistance.) From the comments below, it appears that the Canadian system is quite different.
Update on Dec. 27: From a Canadian newspaper article more info on pros and cons of a local emergency declaration. Thanks to Pierre Picard from pointing out this source.
- Emergency response to Toronto ice storm (airbnb.com)
- Toronto officials urge safety in wake of ice storm power outages (globalnews.ca)
- Toronto ice storm 2013: Nearly 500,000 without electricity (disaster-report.com)