Most Canadians will be turning the clocks back an hour this weekend as various policy moves to end seasonal clock changes have yet to have widespread effect – but experts say we’d be better off without it. the shift twice a year.
Daylight saving time, which allows people to enjoy an extra hour of daylight at the end of the day from March 13, ends on Sunday.
Experts say the tradition of moving forward and backward in time each year is detrimental to people’s health.
Raymond Lam, a professor at the University of British Columbia and British Columbia Chair in Depression Research, said circadian scientists, sleep researchers and clinicians generally agree that a permanent shift to depression standard time would be preferable.
“All circadian rhythms and sleep researchers are clear that permanent standard time must be embraced, we must not change time zones…for the sake of our health,” he said.
“Unfortunately, for some reason, we can’t figure it out.”
The debate over ending seasonal clock changes gained momentum in Ontario in October 2020 when then-legislator Jeremy Roberts introduced a private member’s bill that would end the clock change. half-yearly hour in Ontario, if Quebec and New York did the same.
The bill passed unanimously and would put the province on permanent daylight saving time. Quebec Premier Francois Legault hinted he was not opposed, but said the issue was not a priority, and no one else took up Roberts’ cause. Legislative Assembly of Ontario since being removed from office in June.
British Columbia passed similar legislation the previous year to stick with daylight saving time, but is also waiting for some southern states to follow suit.
The Yukon decided in 2020 to no longer make seasonal changes and now follows its own standard time zone. Saskatchewan hasn’t changed its clocks in over 100 years, with the exception of Lloydminster, which straddles the border with Alberta.
A unified end-times change seemed closer to becoming a reality in March after the US Senate unanimously approved Republican Senator Marco Rubio’s Sun Protection Act, which would make daylight saving time permanent across the entire the country and, therefore, in much of Canada.
The bill still needs to pass the House of Representatives before President Joe Biden can approve it, and it remains stalled in the House.
But despite popular opinion and government legislation, experts say permanent daylight saving time could have adverse effects on people’s health and that it’s the standard time around which governments should move.
That’s because standard time is more in line with our natural circadian rhythm and internal biological clock, they said.
A June 2022 report submitted to the Canadian Sleep Society by researchers from the University of Ottawa and the University of Montreal recommended that federal and provincial governments move to a standard time of one year and consult with scientists before implementing changes.
Last week, Mexico approved a bill to eliminate daylight saving time altogether, ending the practice of changing clocks twice a year. Some cities and towns along the US border may keep Daylight Saving Time because they are closely tied to US cities.
Michael Antle, a professor at the University of Calgary who studies circadian rhythms, said morning light keeps our bodies in sync with the day-night cycle when the days are really short in the winter, and the been permanent would cause “chronic damage by being chronically out of sync”.
Antle said research indicates that permanent daylight saving time would force us to get up an hour earlier for work and school in the winter, which could increase traffic and work accidents and see performance students fall at school, all because of a lack of vigilance.
“We’ve never had this experience in Canada of waking up to permanent daylight saving time in the winter, so people think it won’t be that bad until they try it,” he said. declared.
Antle pointed to Russia, a country as far north as Canada, which switched to permanent daylight saving time in 2011 only to abandon it three years later.
“They just couldn’t tolerate it…everyone who tried it gave it up,” Antle said, adding he wouldn’t be surprised if Yukon reconsidered soon.
Werner Antweiler, a professor at the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business, said the initial push for daylight saving time was an economic decision to harvest daylight for longer periods of time. daily activity, with the aim of conserving energy. Today, the idea has become obsolete thanks to better technology and more efficient lighting.
Mr. Antweiler said that there is a strong incentive to standardize Canada’s time zones with those of the United States, since much of the countries’ economic activity and businesses are integrated in a north-south direction rather than ‘is West.
“If they move one way, we have to do it the same way,” he said, “But everything is still at a standstill because it takes a long time for everything to harmonize and let everyone agree on the direction we are going.”
—Tyler Griffin, The Canadian Press