Daylight Savings Canada 2019: Here’s what you need to know

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Daylight Savings Canada 2019: Here's what you need to know
Daylight Savings Canada 2019: Here's what you need to know

The end of daylight saving time: it’s one of the most reliable events in Canada, unless you’re in Saskatchewan. But we’ll get to that.

Each November, Canadians switch back their clocks to standard time. Summer is gone and so is that extra hour of evening sun. While the fall time change is arguably much better than its spring counterpart — who doesn’t enjoy an extra hour of sleep? — plenty of people still ponder the need for this odd custom.

What actually is DST?

DST comes around twice a year. The first time change occurs on the second Sunday of March, when Canadians push their clocks an hour ahead and wake up groggier the following Monday. In effect, we “borrow” an hour of daylight from the morning and slap it on to the evening, increasing the duration of daylight during waking hours.

In November, the clocks return to standard time on the first Sunday of the month.

What’s the proper way to say it?

It’s Daylight Saving Time, not Daylight Savings Time. Debate closed.

How did it come about?

In Canada, DST started in 1915, around the same time as the First World War. In resource-scarce times, the thinking was that an extra hour of daylight in the summer months meant less energy and coal usage, increased daylight hours for factory workers, and an overall increase in productivity, according to a report by B.C.’s provincial government.

After the Second World War, responsibility for and recognition of DST passed from the federal government to the provinces.

Does all of Canada recognize DST?

No. While most of Canada does, Saskatchewan does not. That province’s whole timing situation is off, too. Even though it is geographically located in the mountain time zone with Alberta, Saskatchewan observes Central Time. So, during the summer, Saskatchewan and Alberta are on the same time; in winter, Saskatchewan and Manitoba are on the same time.

And British Columbia might be joining Saskatchewan, as well. The province is expected to introduce legislation that would axe the time-changing custom; the bill proposes that all of B.C. sets the clocks forward come March, but remains in Daylight Saving Time perpetually.

That would mean an extra hour of daylight in the evening, but could potentially see sunrises at around 9 a.m. PT.

Is setting the clocks back dangerous?

Though losing an hour of sleep seems to come with more danger — higher chances of a heart attack, sleep deprivation, minimal productivity, increased car accidents — so could gaining that extra hour of sleep.

For a start, there’s less daylight, meaning a higher chance of the change impacting your mental health. As well, because it gets darker faster, people aren’t used to driving home from their 9-5 with less daylight, and therefore, traffic accidents could also increase.

What is EST versus EDT?

EST stands for Eastern Standard Time and EDT stands for Eastern Daylight Time. The same applies to PST/PDT and MST/MDT. When a specific abbreviation is used depends on the time of year. A time zone ending in DT refers to time in the spring and summer months, while ST refers to time in the fall and winter months.

So, if you live in Toronto and send a colleague in Edmonton a request for a conference call on June 23 at 2:30 p.m. EST, that’s technically incorrect. You should be asking to host the call at 2:30 p.m. EDT.

But you can just make life simpler by saying ET.

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