Ron Sotnikow, of Red Deer County, has quite a job resetting this clock, which hangs high on a wall of his home. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).

Stop messing with our clocks, say growing number of Albertans

Shifts between standard time and daylight time viewed as unnecessary — even dangerous

Central Albertans will gain a little extra sleep on Sunday after winding their clocks back an hour.

But many Red Deer-area residents are still wondering why we tinker with time in this province.

Considering that statistics show a higher number of workplace accidents occur around time changes, Alberta experiences no real benefit in shifting from daylight time in the spring to standard time in the fall, said Ron Sotnikow, a Red Deer County resident.

“It’s like cutting six inches from the top of a blanket and sewing it to the bottom to make it longer,” added Sotnikow, paraphrasing a purported First Nations saying about the government’s approach to daylight time.

The former shift worker knows even a small jog in time can throw off some people’s body rhythms.

“Either people are affected by it, or at worst, it’s an inconvenience,” added Sotnikow.

He’s among many Albertans who believe this province should follow British Columbia’s example by moving to end all the twice-a-year time shifting.

This week, B.C.’s government introduced legislation that could open the door to a permanent adjustment to daylight time in that province. All but seven per cent of B.C. residents favour having Saskatchewan-style, year-round daylight time.

Washington, Oregon, California and Yukon are also looking at sticking with daylight time all year long.

And this makes sense to former nursing home aide Betty Bell, who knows time changes can have a “horrible” effect on some people.

She’s seen seniors automatically wake up at a certain time to take their dose of medication — only to have to sit and wait for an hour because their circadian rhythms are out of whack with the clocks.

“I also feel bad for babies who are used to sleeping and eating on schedule, and for the kids who need to get up to go to school,” Bell added.

Farmers have complained as well about their livestock chores being disturbed by time changes — which were initially implemented as a wartime energy saving measure.

The latest to weigh in on the issue is University of Calgary psychologist Michael Antle, who told Calgary media this week that studies have shown people’s health would improve if we stayed on standard time all year long.

While B.C. and the Pacific Northwest prefer going with daylight time, Antle said this would mean the sun wouldn’t rise until 9:30 a.m. in December — which wouldn’t help anyone get out of bed.

According to Antle, later sunrises and sunsets contribute to increased cancer, obesity, diabetes, heart attacks and depression. He feels year-round standard time would increase the likelihood of well-rested students and higher grades.

Three-quarters of Albertans supported getting rid of time changes in a 2017 survey. That year, Alberta’s former New Democrat government explored, through a private member’s bill, potentially scrapping time changes.

The idea was dropped because of the potential impact on businesses.

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