Should Labrador ditch daylight time? Some residents in Labrador and Quebec think so

·3 min read
Daylight time ends on Sunday at 2 a.m. Clocks will 'fall back' one hour. (Elena Elisseeva/Shutterstock - image credit)
Daylight time ends on Sunday at 2 a.m. Clocks will 'fall back' one hour. (Elena Elisseeva/Shutterstock - image credit)

While most Canadians will get an extra hour of sleep this weekend as clocks go back to standard time, some Labrador residents say they're still going to wake up with a headache over another time change in a region that already has too many.

Going across the region from Labrador City to southern Labrador the time changes by a half-hour. At the Quebec border, depending on the time of year, people have to set their clocks back either a half-hour or an hour and a half as the part of Quebec that connects to Labrador does not observe daylight time.

"It's ridiculous," said Dwight Lethbridge, who owns a small business in Cartwright.

"It's just silly, really, for anyone who is travelling through the area trying to figure out what time they are supposed to be at what places."

Lethbridge's solution is to ditch daylight time and have all of Labrador observe Atlantic standard time.

I think we have got it right here. - Randy Jones

"It would put us at the same as our friends just across the border in Quebec on the lower north shore so you could travel this whole area on one time zone with no daylight savings," Lethbridge told CBC's Labrador Morning.

Parts of Quebec without daylight time

His hopes for Labrador's time change is the reality for some communities on Quebec's north shore.

"We never change time. Our time stays the same all the time," said Randy Jones, mayor of Gros-Mécatina, Que.

"We like it that way. It's been like that forever and we don't plan on changing it."

Julia Page/CBC
Julia Page/CBC

Jones said he believes his residents get the maximum sunlight out of the day without observing the time change. Although the kids go to school in the dark, he said, they get to enjoy the afternoon and evenings.

Being on the same time as Labrador would be less confusing for Quebec residents going to the Big Land, he said.

"I think we have got it right here."

Logistical challenges are worth it, says computer scientist

The head of the computer science department at the University of Regina — in Saskatchewan, which stays on Central standard time year-round — said changing the time is a challenge, which could be a reason for scrapping the change altogether.

"We change it once now and we wouldn't have to deal with those problems twice a year," said David Gerhard.

Gerhard said it would be simpler for people with older devices that need to be changed manually.

University of Regina
University of Regina

For anything operated by a computer system that automatically changes, Gerhard said, it would be a bit more challenging because code would have to be rewritten — but it would only have to be done once and would solve other problems.

"Changing the time is a really difficult thing even though we are used to doing it. It's very complicated and difficult for a computer because a computer has to run over the same hour twice."

Gerhard said changing the clocks twice a year might have been necessary a century ago but serves no purpose anymore and said the time change has health implications for the body and causes an increase in vehicle accidents.

"There's a lot of bad things that happen as a result of changing our clocks twice a year. We just don't think about it because we are used to it. We have this inertia that is what we have always done, it's fine, it's not that big a deal," he said.

"It's a huge deal."

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