(Black Press file photo.r)

B.C. tables time change law, but clocks still go back one hour Sunday

VICTORIA — The countdown toward permanent daylight time in British Columbia started Thursday, Premier John Horgan said after legislation was tabled to eliminate changing the clocks twice a year.

The Interpretation Amendment Act, if passed, would make daylight time permanent, but Horgan said the government remains open to hearing from opponents who want standard time instead because they argue it promotes healthy sleep.

“Today is a very good day for those who are tired of changing their clocks,” Horgan told a news conference.

Horgan said a recent government survey is behind the change. It found more than 93 per cent of respondents, or almost 225,000 people, supported permanent daylight time, which would be known as Pacific time under British Columbia’s legislation.

“I understand there will be people who have issues with daylight savings time, but the consultation made it fairly clear most British Columbians believe that daylight savings time will give them more light during their working day, and that’s the direction we’re going to go in,” the premier said.

Horgan said the bill does not set a date for the transition to permanent daylight time. B.C. will keep tabs on plans by its neighbouring U.S. trading partners in the Pacific states of Washington, Oregon and California before adopting daylight time.

The western states support the switch but must still go through a federal approval process before being permitted to make the move, he said.

Horgan recently discussed the possibility of abandoning the time change with Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and other U.S. politicians.

He said he plans to lobby his counterparts across the country in a telephone conference call on Friday to follow B.C. and drop the fall and spring time changes.

“Canadians are questioning why we are doing this and why we’ve been continuing to do this when there’s no meaningful reason to do so,” he said.

Researchers at Simon Fraser University are urging the government to make standard time permanent in B.C.

Psychologists Myriam Juda and Ralph Mistlberger, who are circadian biology and sleep experts, sent a letter to Horgan saying daylight time can result in a condition known as social jet lag.

“When exposure to sunlight in the morning is reduced, the biological clock drifts later, making it harder to wake up and causing an increased mismatch between the body clock and local time,” they say in a statement.

It says the letter to Horgan “cautions that if daylight saving time is kept year-round, sunrise would be later in the winter, leading to 67 days with decreased exposure to morning sunlight compared to permanent standard time.”

The Surrey Board of Trade supports permanent daylight time, saying the proposed change is long overdue.

“In an increasingly digitized economy, it is important that we minimize delays as much as possible and adjusting to outdated time changes is a hindrance that we are glad the B.C. government is doing away with,” Anita Huberman, the board’s chief executive officer, said in a statement.

This story by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 31, 2019.

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