Canada·CBC Forum

Do we really need daylight saving time?

Daylight saving time turns 100 this year. It's been a controversial solution to a debatable problem. Is it an idea whose time has expired? Do we really need to change the clocks?

Daylight time is 100 years old, but do we really need to change the clocks?

Has the time come to abandon daylight saving time? (Charles Krupa/Associated Press)

Daylight saving time turns 100 this year. It's been a controversial solution to a debatable problem.

Governments have long sold daylight time as a way to conserve energy, and studies suggest businesses benefit from the daylight hours after work, which makes people more likely to shop. Critics say it leads to health problems, car accidents and that any energy conservation may be lost to increased gas consumption as people drive more in sunlight after work.

Is it an idea whose time has expired? 

Do we really need daylight saving time?

Readers let us know in Sunday's CBC Forum — a live, hosted discussion about topics of national interest. It was also the topic during Sunday's Cross Country Checkup on CBC Radio One. Here's a sampling of their comments — almost all of which called for the end of twice-yearly time changes.

(Please note that user names are not necessarily the names of commenters. Some comments have been altered to correct spelling and to conform to CBC style. Click on the user name to see the comment in the blog format.)

"I would like to see petitions everywhere [to] ban this foolish and ridiculous practice. Businesses manage with different times coast to coast. They can have workers start and finish at different times in shifts if they have markets in different time zones to deal with. I feel the changes are not helpful and may be dangerous." — Midwife Madeleine

"I'd prefer if we stayed on daylight time. It means more exposure sunlight later in the day when it's needed for office workers. It would certainly help with the seasonal funk many fall into in our cold winters. It would also bring our time closer to Europe's improving opportunities for overseas communication and business." — Dunkalunk

"I'm not sure people realize that keeping daylight savings year round makes for a 8:50 a.m. sunrise in Toronto and a 9:40 a.m. sunrise in Calgary in December. Even later in more northern cities. This is probably why we need to switch back and forth." — Steve 21

"I'm surprised at how many people say that DST is nonsense. It's not nonsense. Days get longer on both ends (morning and evening) and most people would rather sleep when it's dark out and work when it's light out. With that said, I agree that the change should be abolished. Better would be for businesses to adapt and start work earlier in the summer (e.g. start work at 9 a.m. in the winter, 8 a.m. in the summer)." — Samara

You can read the full discussion — including tweets from Cross Country Checkup — in the blog below.

Can't see the forum? Click here.

With files from Cross Country Checkup and Lucas Powers