Officials are advising people in Quebec to drink plenty of water and to check in on neighbours or relatives and get them to an air conditioned place, especially elders with existing medical conditions. The temperature in the city reached 40 C on Wednesday when factoring in the humidity, and the heat is expected to last until Friday.
"My thoughts are with the loved ones of those who have died in Quebec during this heat wave", Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Twitter. Witnesses say the small pool was at capacity at the time, and there was one lifeguard on duty.
Twelve of the dead were reported in the eastern province's capital Montreal, said regional public health director Mylene Drouin.
Meanwhile, the ambulance service that serves a large swath of the Montreal area is calling on people to refrain from calling unless it is a real emergency.
Firefighters planned to do 5,000 home inspections among those considered most at risk from high temperatures.
The mercury has regularly topped 30 degrees since Friday in southern Quebec, accompanied by stifling humidity levels.
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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. The agency said it is struggling to meet the demand of people who require transportation to hospital.
Drouin said there have been thousands of home visits and that officials want to avoid the results of an extended heat period in 2010, when 106 people died in the Montreal area.
Montreal city hall unveiled an "extreme heat" plan on Tuesday that includes distributing water to groups working with the homeless.
"The dome of high pressure aloft causing the recent heat is beginning to retreat westward, which will allow a cold front to sweep through the Midwest and Northeast, a Weather Channel forecast states". Inland communities are hit harder than those along the coast.
Heat warnings were also in place for New Brunswick, P.E.I and Nova Scotia, where similarly intense conditions could push the humidex close to 40 on Thursday.
It's been said before and it'll be said again: this heat wave is never ending.