British Columbia

B.C. might say goodbye to changing clocks, says premier

B.C. Premier John Horgan says the province may join Washington, Oregon and California in eliminating seasonal time change.

B.C. considering joining three western U.S. states pursuing a similar proposal

B.C. is considering following Washington, Oregon and California as those states pursue daylight time year round. (Brian Snyder/Reuters)

Changing clocks could be a thing of the past in B.C. as the province muses joining Washington, Oregon and California, which have proposed eliminating seasonal time changes.

Legislators from the three U.S. states recently proposed bills that would end the one-hour time changes from standard time to daylight time in spring, then back again in fall, sticking to one time setting year-round.

B.C. Premier John Horgan says he recently sent a letter to the three governors, requesting they share information on the proposed change. He says if B.C. is to either keep permanent daylight time or permanent Pacific standard time, it must be done in all four jurisdictions.

"We have too many economic ties ... too many social and cultural ties to have one jurisdiction or two being out of sync with the others," Horgan told reporters in Victoria on March 7. 

Horgan had previously said B.C. wouldn't lose the time change, citing those same ties. His comments Friday come just as British Columbians are preparing to set their clocks one hour ahead Sunday, March 10.

The Peace River Regional District and the town of Creston do not move their clocks forward in spring.

Why leave the clock alone?

Washington state Democratic Senator Sam Hunt recently signed onto supporting the state's bill in favour of year-round daylight time. He says it's been a topic of conversation in Washington state for years.

"We saw in studies there are more suicides around the time change. There's disruption of life," Hunt told Early Edition host Stephen Quinn. 

The Gastown steam clock in downtown Vancouver on March 8, 2019. On March 10, we spring forward into daylight time. In three U.S. states just south of us — there is a push to spring forward and stay there. (Valerie Gamache/CBC)

Several studies have found springing ahead comes with a slew of negative consequences, including decreased productivity and a spike in traffic accidents.

A 2014 study out of the University of Colorado found a 25-per-cent increase in the risk of heart attack the Monday after the start of daylight time.

It also noted a corresponding decrease in the risk of heart attack at the end of daylight time in the fall.

Hunt says the change would promote ease of movement between states and avoid schedule confusion in the travel, shipping and entertainment industries.

An act of Congress

B.C. can make the change without any involvement with the federal government, unlike U.S. states. 

If the legislation put forward by Washington, California and Oregon passes in each state and becomes law, it will take an act of U.S. Congress for the states to move to full year-round daylight time.

Hunt says if every state passes their bills, all western states should request federal approval together. 

"I think it would create some problems if California were in one time zone and Oregon and Washington were in another time zone. And maybe British Columbia could join us to do it all at once," said Hunt. 

The change would take at least two years to go into effect.

"Whatever we do, there'll be change involved, and it'll take some getting used to."

Currently, Saskatchewan is the only Canadian province without seasonal time changes. 

Listen to the interview with Senator Sam Hunt here:

On March 10, we spring forward into daylight saving time. Some people have a hard time adjusting to the one hour time difference. In fact, in some U.S. states - just to the south - there is a push to spring forward and stay there. 5:17

With files by The Early Edition and Robin De Angelis.

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