Clocks go ahead 1 hour overnight as most of B.C. shifts to daylight saving time

·3 min read
Most Canadians will move their clocks forward by an hour at 2 a.m. on Sunday. (Elena Elisseeva/Shutterstock - image credit)
Most Canadians will move their clocks forward by an hour at 2 a.m. on Sunday. (Elena Elisseeva/Shutterstock - image credit)

Darker mornings and lighter evenings are ahead for most of British Columbia as the province shifts to daylight saving time overnight Saturday.

At 2 a.m. Sunday morning, clocks will move ahead one hour, depriving most people in the province of an hour of sleep, despite government legislation introduced nearly two years ago that would allow for daylight time to become permanent.

In September 2019, 93 per cent of the province said in a government survey that they supported a halt to changing clocks twice a year and staying on daylight time.

But since then Premier John Horgan has said repeatedly that B.C. would wait for U.S. states on the west coast to adopt changes in harmony with the province.

'Let's hope this is the last time'

"I've heard from businesses, I've heard from people, they want to stay in contact with the Pacific time zone," he said from Victoria on Friday.

"We're going to be watching closely how that happens but for now, my advice for people is let's spring forward, change the batteries on your smoke detector and let's hope this is the last time."

Washington, California and Oregon have all introduced legislation to move to year-round daylight time, but ultimately the decision must be made federally by the U.S. Congress.

Horgan says a new bill from a group of American Senators called the Sunshine Protection Act, is likely to be successful. If passed, it would make daylight saving time permanent across the entire U.S.

"That may well be the catalyst that gets us back on track," said Horgan.

Most of B.C. currently observes Pacific standard time during the winter months and Pacific daylight time during the summer months.

The province says its legislation will not require areas of northern B.C. and the East Kootenay, which currently observe mountain time, to make any changes.

In November 2020, Yukon did not change it clocks back one hour and stayed on daylight time.

Yukon became the first large region in Canada to scrap time changes during the digital age. Saskatchewan has been on permanent central standard time for decades.

Daylight health concerns

Some experts who study sleep and neuroscience say that a permanent move to daylight time could have serious health implications including increased risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

After the province introduced its time change legislation in the fall of 2019, six researchers from Simon Fraser University and the University of British Columbia wrote an open letter urging the province to reconsider the switch to permanent daylight time.

Researchers estimate that if B.C. switches to permanent daylight time, children will leave for classes in the dark for about a third of the school year.
Researchers estimate that if B.C. switches to permanent daylight time, children will leave for classes in the dark for about a third of the school year.(Gian-Paolo Mendoza/CBC)

The letter says the change will make it more difficult to fall asleep at night and wake up in the morning, leaving people under-rested.

The researchers advocated for the province to adopt permanent standard time instead — the time currently observed during the winter — because it more closely aligns with the sun's movement.

At the time the province said it was taking different opinions on the issue into account.

The first day of spring in Canada is March 20.