Ontario looking to make Daylight Saving Time permanent: Pros and cons

Cheryl Santa Maria
·4 min read
Ontario looking to make Daylight Saving Time permanent: Pros and cons
Ontario looking to make Daylight Saving Time permanent: Pros and cons
Ontario looking to make Daylight Saving Time permanent: Pros and cons

Ottawa West-Nepean MPP Jeremy Roberts is trying to put an end to bi-annual time changes in the province of Ontario.

Roberts tabled the Time Amendment Act Wednesday. If the bill is passed, it would allow the Attorney General of Ontario (AGO) to move the province to permanent daylight time. There is a caveat though: The act can only be brought into effect if neighbouring jurisdictions Quebec and New York agree to adopt the practice as well.

The bill has already passed the second reading in the legislature at Queen's Park, CTV reports.

"There are several studies that show that increased evening daylight actually gets people out shopping, so it helps our small businesses," Roberts told CTV News Toronto.

"Permanent daylight saving means people who work a standard day shift – and kids who go to school during the day – get more daylight at the end of the day, and it will make Ontario a safer and happier place."

If Ontario makes the change, it won't be the first Canadian locale to switch to permanent daylight time. In March, officials in Yukon announced an end to the twice-annual event.

The decision was made after the government received survey responses from more than 4,800 residents, and about 93 per cent of respondents voted in favour of keeping the same time year-round.

Some parts of B.C. don't change the clocks either, and officials are looking at making the change consistent across the entire province, although they say that won't happen this year.

That's after British Columbians responded to a government survey inquiring about their time change preferences. Interestingly, the same percentage of people -- 93 per cent -- voted in favour of ending seasonal time changes.

Daylight Saving Time (DST) is mainly used across Europe and North America, and it was first proposed by Benjamin Franklin in 1784 as a way to save money on candles and lamp oil.

PEXELS - Clock - Tom Swinnen
PEXELS - Clock - Tom Swinnen

File photo. Courtesy: Pexels/Tom Swinnen.

PROS AND CONS OF DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME

Pros

  • In 2015, Economists Jennifer Doleac, Ph.D., and Nicholas Sanders, Ph.D. found robberies drop by about 7 per cent across the U.S. following the shift to DST. They estimate that the 2007 daylight saving extension resulted in $59 million in annual social cost savings from avoided robberies. It's theorized longer daylight provides more safety, but it's not clear if the drop in crime would remain consistent if time changes are eradicated.

  • Later daylight means more people spending money in the community after work and that could be good for the economy. A 2013 report in National Geographic says the golf industry reported that one month of DST was worth $200 to $400 million due to extended evening hours golfers have to play.

VIDEO: DST AND YOUR HEALTH

Click here to view the video

Cons

  • If the bill passes, it would remain lighter longer in the evening throughout the year, but the sun won't rise in southern Ontario until around 9 a.m. in the bottom half of December, meaning the commute to work and school would be in the dark.

  • Some studies show that DST can increase energy consumption. In 2008, two years after the State of Indiana started observing DST, researchers at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) published a paper on the effects of DST and found Indiana had increased its use of electricity by around 1 per cent following its adoption.

WHY DST CAN BE DANGEROUS FOR WALKERS

Click here to view the video

ARGUMENTS AGAINST THE BI-ANNUAL TIME CHANGE

There are also several arguments against switching the clock forward and backward each year, because the abrupt time change can impact health in a number of ways.

Studies Heart attacks increase by 24 per cent in the week after the U.S. "springs forward" in March. A similar uptick is noted in November.

There's also evidence the abrupt time change can impact productivity and cause an increase in car accidents.

--

Thumbnail image courtesy: Unsplash/CHUTTERSNAP