Time stands still on B.C.'s move to permanent daylight time

Clocks go back one hour on Sunday at 2 a.m. (Simon Charland-Faucher/CBC - image credit)
Clocks go back one hour on Sunday at 2 a.m. (Simon Charland-Faucher/CBC - image credit)

On Nov. 6, most British Columbians will set their clocks back one hour, just as they have every autumn for more than 50 years, even though the province promised to end the practice three years ago.

In 2019, B.C. passed legislation to make daylight time permanent. However, Premier John Horgan has said many times since it would only be enacted once Washington state, Oregon and California do the same in order to keep the provincial economy aligned with its U.S. neighbours.

Earlier this year the U.S. Senate voted unanimously to stop the twice-a-year time change. The House of Representatives, which has the ultimate say on the matter, can't reach consensus.

Democratic Rep. Frank Pallone, who chairs the energy and commerce committee that has jurisdiction over the issue, said in a statement to Reuters the House is still trying to figure out how to move forward.

"There are a broad variety of opinions about whether to keep the status quo, to move to a permanent time, and if so, what time that should be," Pallone said, adding that opinions break down by region, not by party.

Legislative aides told Reuters they do not expect Congress to reach agreement before the end of the year. Supporters in the Senate will need to reintroduce the bill next year if it is not approved by the end of 2022 — meaning a longer wait for the U.S., and consequently, B.C.

Some British Columbians are getting impatient.

Tara Holmes, co-founder of Stop The Time Change, said she doesn't understand why B.C. has to wait for the U.S. to make the switch.

"We are right next door to Alberta and we still do trade and business with them. It's only an hour difference and the same thing with the states," she told CBC's All Points West.

"Nobody likes the time change. It does not serve a purpose anymore. Who is going to take the lead and the initiative?"

In 2020, Yukon ditched switching the clocks. Saskatchewan has been on permanent central standard time for decades.

Several northeastern B.C. communities never changed clocks for daylight time.

Lori Ackerman, outgoing mayor of Fort St. John, argues that leaving clocks alone is the way to go.

"First of all, you don't lose your mind over trying to figure out whether you are dropping an hour or gaining an hour," she said.

"One of the benefits for me … is it's steady, it's constant. You can't cut a foot off a blanket, sew it on the top of a blanket and think you've got a longer blanket."