The time, it is a-changin’.
Global News has learned Premier John Horgan will introduce enabling legislation on Thursday to make Daylight Saving Time (DST) permanent.
But the changes will not come into effect before the clocks fall back this Sunday.
The hope from the B.C. government is this will be the last time British Columbians change the clocks twice a year.
The legislation creates a new name for the permanent time zone, Pacific Time. The new rules will not require areas in B.C. Northeast and in the Kootenays, who currently observe Mountain Time, to change their observance practices.
In September, the province released results from a public survey that found 93 per cent of British Columbians who participated are in favour of getting rid of seasonal time changes and sticking to DST.
More than 223,000 people filled out an online survey aimed at finding out British Columbians thoughts on seasonal time changes.
“I believe this is something British Columbians want to see happen and it’s long overdue. There are groups that have been advocating for this for a long, long time and the time is now right,” Horgan said at the time.
“Overwhelming support, you don’t see that on many issues. I think I would be ill-advised not to listen to the public on this one.”
The legislation will not automatically get rid of the seasonal time changes, only give the province the power to do it at any time once passed.
The big lag for the province comes south of the border.
Horgan, and a majority of British Columbians, are in favour of making the switch only if the rest of the Pacific jurisdictions do it as well.
Washington and Oregon are in support of permanent DST but they need the support of the U.S. Congress, which is currently tied up with impeachment proceedings and will be entering an election cycle in 2020.
California was originally in favour of following along, but has now taken a step back and is considering permanent Standard Time.
Sleep experts have also expressed concerns offer the impact of permanent DST. Dr. Myriam Juda from Circadian Light Therapy Inc. says year-round DST would mean later sunrises in the winter, leading to decreased exposure to morning sunlight.
“When the exposure to sunlight in the morning is reduced, our biological clocks drift later and later, making it harder to wake up and causing an increased mismatch between the body clock and local time,” Juda said.
“DST also exposes people to more evening light, which further delays the biological clock and makes it more difficult to fall asleep. Both sleep deprivation and social jetlag have negative effects on physical and mental health, including increased risks for diabetes, obesity, heart disease, depression, and some forms of cancer.”
Tara Holmes, one of the organizers behind a petition to scrap the time change, said she’s hopeful B.C. will actually enforce the legislation with or without the United States.
“I am really feeling that British Columbia can be the leaders on this and that we don’t need to wait for the states whether they do it or don’t do it,” Holmes said.
“When we start the rest of the country will follow. I think the majority of British Columbians would be happy with that.”