British Columbia

The clocks change this weekend — and they'll keep doing so twice a year until U.S. changes its mind: UBC prof

Business professor Werner Antweiler says with so much economic integration between B.C. and the U.S., the government has yet to pull the trigger on permanent daylight time while it waits to see if the U.S. will do the same.

Province has already passed legislation that could make daylight time permanent

Daylight time goes into effect in B.C. Sunday, March 8, beginning at 2 a.m. (Brian Snyder/Reuters)

Most British Columbians will once again lose an hour of sleep when the clocks "spring forward" early Sunday morning, and once again, many will wake up Monday wondering why they still have to adjust their clocks and go to work groggy.

More than 93 per cent of British Columbians who responded to a 2019 government survey said they wanted to do away with twice-yearly time changes and make daylight time permanent.

The provincial government passed legislation later that year that enables them to pull the trigger and make the change.

So why haven't they?

"We are kind of waiting on the United States here," said UBC-Sauder school of business associate professor Werner Antweiler on The Early Edition.

What's the hold up?

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.  

According to Antweiler, B.C.'s economy is so integrated with the United States it is important that everyone make the move together so border commerce, flight times and television schedules are not negatively impacted.

He said once the U.S. moves and B.C. moves, he expects other provinces will follow suit.

"Switching back and forth is really what is bad," said Antweiler, adding that studies show there is a higher incidence of accidents and fatalities when clocks change and it can also have an adverse effect on worker productivity.

"It is imposing a one-hour jet lag on the entire population," he said.

And Antweiler does not anticipate that if and when clock changing is scrapped, it will not be significantly costly to B.C. businesses.

Current situation

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. 

Daylight time goes into effect on Sunday, March 8, beginning at 2 a.m. The shift will add an extra hour of evening light but will make it darker in the early morning hours.

In the Yukon, the government has announced this is the last year it will make twice-yearly changes and will remain on daylight time after Sunday.

With files from The Early Edition

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