TORONTO — This weekend marks an end to daylight time for 2020 as clocks turn back one hour for most of Canada early Sunday morning.
Much of Canada will return to standard time at 2 a.m. on Sunday Nov. 1. Canadians will notice fewer hours of late-day sunlight than in the summer months, making it brighter outside earlier in the day and darker earlier at night.
While most clocks will automatically adjust their time, manual clocks like most watches will need to be rewound one hour. The time change will remain in effect until March
WHY DO WE USE DAYLIGHT TIME?
What began as a way to save energy during the First World War was eventually adopted around the world at the turn of the 20th century. Daylight time is common in North America and Europe, whereas most countries in Africa, Asia and parts of Australia do not recognize the time change.
WHAT EFFECTS DOES IT HAVE ON OUR BODIES?
Time changes can affect our sleep schedules and may confuse the body’s internal clock to think it’s later than it really is, according to York University professor Patricia Lakin-Thomas.
She explained that it can have a similar effect on the body as being jetlagged after crossing time zones.
This leads to “an increase in car accidents, in workplace accidents, in heart attacks,” during the switch to daylight time in the spring, she explained.
Supporters of daylight time argue that prolonged sunlight is good for the economy as people are likely shop later into the evenings. Daylight time may also be better for your health because people who spend longer in the sun will get more vitamin D, acccording the the Canadian Cancer Society.
COULD IT COME TO AN END?
Several Canadian provinces have discussed putting time changes to an end.
Ontario, B.C. and Alberta are all considering eliminating time changes for good, however most of the country will still roll their clocks back an hour this year.
If daylight time becomes permanent, the sun would not rise until later in the mornings, however the daylight hours would be extended later into the evenings.
B.C. made a push in 2019 to make daylight time permanent, with 93 per cent of residents surveyed voting in favour of the motion.
“We’re hopeful that this will be the last time that we fall back,” B.C. Premier John Horgan said in a 2019 interview.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic put the motion on hold and slowed efforts to get a U.S. federal law passed to include Washington state and Oregon.
Ottawa-area MPP Jeremy Roberts tabled Bill 214 – the Time Amendment Act – to keep the province on daylight time year round. The motion will only be made possible in Ontario if Quebec and New York follow suit.
A Quebec-based group has submitted a petition to the National Assembly in the hopes that with COVID-19, this might finally be the last year the provincial government changes time.
“We are hoping to save that evening sunlight which is so important to so many people,” said Alison Usher-Jones who started the group Stop the Time Change QC.
The Canadian Society for Chronobiology looks closely at the affects of time change and pushes for a permanent standard time. The society says standard time will be more beneficial to a person’s health.
“Increases in heart attacks or increases in strokes – we can even see judges giving out harsher sentences out for a few days after the time change probably because they’re sleep deprived,” said Thomas.
The time change is not recognized by most of Saskatchewan and several isolated communities in Ontario, B.C. and Quebec.
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