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Clocks move forward as debate on permanent shift to daylight time continues

Did you remember to move your clock one hour ahead this morning?

Most of Canada moved to daylight time early Sunday, meaning we lost an hour of sleep. It also re-ignited the debate as to whether or not the time has come to ditch the time change.

Fire officials also say the time change is also a good time to replace batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

Yukon and most of Saskatchewan keep their clocks the same year-round while every other province well as the territories of Nunavut and the Northwest Territories observe the twice-a-year time change.

Last October, Albertans narrowly voted against the province adopting year-round daylight time.

B.C. and Ontario have both passed legislation that would allow them to remain on daylight time permanently. But they have yet to put the law in to practice.

Ontario passed the Time Amendment Act in November 2020, but it has yet to receive royal assent as it waits for neighbouring Quebec and New York state do the same.

Quebec’s premier has indicated his government is open to a permanent change while New York State’s bill has yet to proceed beyond the committee stage. However, officials have indicated they would consider a change if Congress repeals the 1966 Uniform Time Act and only if other neighbouring states went year-round as well.

B.C. Premier John Horgan says he’s hopeful a bill by Washington state’s governor will get congressional approval this year, while Oregon and California – who are in the same time zone as B.C. – are also among states that have enacted legislation or passed resolutions for year-round daylight time.

The move to permanent daylight time has become a passionate issue for many Canadians, but it may not be as welcome as people believe because mornings will be darker during winter months, said Nelson Wiseman, a professor emeritus at the University of Toronto’s political science department.

“I don’t think it’s going to happen, but if it does happen, you just watch the clamour for going back,” he said in an interview from Birmingham, Ala. “You’re going to have people complaining that it’s pitch dark at nine o’clock in the morning in winter.”

Wiseman agrees that it is not practical for B.C. or Ontario to move to permanent daylight time if their nearby trading partners don’t make the same move.

Prof. Andrey Pavlov at Simon Fraser University’s Beedie school of business in Burnaby, B.C., is among those who support making the change permanent. However, he cautions that making the change ahead of neighbouring jurisdictions could have economic effects, which include losing customers and suppliers.

“If we do it alone, I’m not sure I would be in favour of that because of the economic consequences,” he said. “The economic impact of that may be quite significant.”

The issues for business if the switch is made alone include everything from computer systems to opening hours being out of alignment, he said.

“Each one of those sounds small, but when it adds together, I think, being out of sync would have a significant economic impact.”

Daylight Time will be in place until November 6, 2022 when clocks “fall back.”

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