Why I can’t wait to change my clock for the last time
Daylight savings is an idea from the past that we need to let go of
Opinions / November 1, 2020
Pandemic or not, I still hate changing my clock. While this time switch gives us an hour head start on our day, it won’t be long before we change the clock back, and the awful annual adjustment begins again.
Port Arthur, Ontario (now Thunder Bay) was the first municipality to enact daylight savings time in the world in 1908. Only a handful of cities in Canada used DST before 1918. Daylight savings was implemented in Canada, the U.S., and several parts of Europe during World War I because it was thought to help with national electricity conservation.
In Canada, each province can decide whether to use daylight time, but since we mostly followed the U.S., our neighbouring countries were synchronized for economic purposes.
In 1947 Vancouver voted for B.C. to follow suit. Daylight savings time has been a topic of debate since the 1920s in Canada, and in Vancouver alone, the process of adopting it has gone through several votes.
In B.C., the debate arose again in July 2019, and the B.C. provincial government surveyed British Columbians on their views on DST. Around 223,270 British Columbians were surveyed, and more than 93 per cent preferred to move to a permanent daylight savings time.
Over 90 per cent supported the year-round observance of daylight savings time in all industry and occupation groups, except for students, of which 75 per cent indicated their support due to health and wellness concerns.
From the survey, 54 per cent said it was “important” or “very important” for B.C. to align its time observance with neighbouring jurisdictions.
In response, the government introduced legislative amendments so that the province could move to a permanent daylight savings time in the future. However, that change will only happen once Washington state, Oregon, and California are aligned with us.
Washington and Oregon have been approved to commit to year-round Pacific time. In California, voters had cast ballots supporting the switch, but the state is still waiting for ascent from the U.S. Congress.
March 2020 was the last time residents in the Yukon would change their clocks, permanently sticking to one time. However, recently B.C. Premier John Horgan said this would also be our final season of DST.
“One more season of patience,” he said, adding that if the U.S. “does not get its act together, I would suggest this is the last season of falling back and springing forward.”
Researchers at SFU and UBC agree that ending the time changes biannually would be for the betterment of all British Columbians’ health. This is because standard time matches up best with solar time, and our internal clock is in sync with the sun’s position.
Changing the clock has been correlated with an increase in people seeking help for depression in the fall. In the spring, there is an increase in car accidents, heart attacks and other health problems that coincide with the time change.
Health problems are my biggest personal issue. As someone living with a chronic health condition who relies on a consistent sleep schedule of seven-to-eight hours of sleep a night, changing my clock twice a year takes its toll on my system.
The time change in the fall isn’t as bad on my sleep schedule. I just start my day earlier. Come spring when we lose an hour, I’m groggy for the week after.
My system is slow, my body just cannot wake up. It feels like I’m under the effects of Gravol. And when my sleep schedule is off, it causes my system to struggle, and I get other symptoms from my disorder such as nausea and pain.
Daylight savings began at another time. It doesn’t make sense to keep, and it’s doing more harm than good. It’s time to stop changing the clock.