daylight savings time

This could be the last year of Daylight Saving Time changes in Ontario

No one likes the groggy week of adjusting to a new time twice a year but, hopefully, 2021 will be the last of Daylight Saving Time shifts in Ontario.

A move eliminate time change we tolerate twice a year was put to the Ontario legislature in 2020. The private members bill called "The Time Amendment Act," tabled by Ottawa West-Nepean MPP Jeremy Roberts, passed with unanimous support.

But the bill still requires Royal Assent before turning into law — and the province's Attorney General has agreed to do this only with the jurisdictions of Quebec and New York on board.

Fast forward a year later and we still need to remember to change the clocks (unless Bell changes them for us) but Roberts says Quebec and New York might be closer to considering their own bills.

Roberts tells blogTO he has written to officials in New York and Quebec. He heard back from Premier François Legault in Quebec and Legault recently said he is open to considering a change.

While he didn't get a response from New York, Roberts says he recently heard that a New York state senator has introduced a piece of legislation to bring about permanent Daylight Saving Time (DST) in New York.

Roberts is optimistic that both Quebec and New York could move quickly and that this could be the last year Ontario has to switch the clocks.

"In Ontario, from the day I introduced the bill to the day it passed through parliament, it took us 55 days," says Roberts. "So if Ontario can get this done that quickly, I feel like our neighbours can do the same."

Although Ontario and New York are considering a permanent switch to Daylight Savings Time, experts in chronobiology, a field of biology that examines timing processes, told CBC, they instead recommend the province make the switch to permanent standard time, calling it the "wiser and healthier choice."

The inspiration behind the change to a permanent time was personal for Roberts.

"I've always found it to be a really, really annoying thing to have to go through. And I always feel groggy for a little while afterward."

Later, he learned there are several negative impacts including poor work performance, increased energy costs and more car accidents (due to feeling groggy).

"There's actually a ton of academic studies now that are suggesting that the time change actually leads to an increase in heart attacks and strokes, more fatal car crashes, less productivity at work," Roberts says.

"So, beyond it just being annoying, there's a pretty solid academic consensus out there that we should definitely stop this."

DST started over 100 years ago with the German Empire and Hungary-Austria being the first countries to adopt the practice. Originally, the idea was to conserve candle use and maximize daylight time.

Roberts says many of his constituents complain that the time change makes the early evening too dark.

"People seem to really, really dislike the fall back time change because even though it gives them that extra hour of sleep, when they get home from work, it's often pitch black out already."

So Roberts asks that, if you know people in New York or Quebec, ask them to lobby their politicians so we can all stop this madness.

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