When to change your clock for Daylight Saving Time — and why we ‘spring forward’

WATCH: Here's how Daylight Saving Time mixes up your schedule.

Most Canadians will mark a miserable rite of spring on March 8, when they’ll groggily climb out of bed only to ask themselves: Why is it still dark at 7 a.m.?

Daylight Saving Time goes into effect on Sunday, March 8, when clocks will “spring forward” by one hour beginning at 2 a.m. The shift will essentially make it darker in the early morning hours, while leaving one extra hour of light in the evening.

It also means that March 8 will only be 23 hours long, and you’ll lose sleep if you have fixed times for waking up on the weekend. Regardless, you’ll probably feel a bit discombobulated over the following days as you adjust to a different sunlight schedule.

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Daylight Saving Time will remain in effect until Sunday, Nov. 1, when Canadians will get their missing hour back while sleeping off a sugar coma (or something else) from Halloween.

The time-change tradition has been making Canadians miserable for a century, and its actual function has been disputed for nearly as long. Some studies have even suggested that people experience mini jet lag after the “spring ahead,” making them less alert on the road over the following week.

Nevertheless, most communities have continued to follow the practice despite brief bouts of backlash whenever it occurs.

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British Columbia made plenty of noise over the summer about shifting permanently to Daylight Saving Time. The provincial government conducted a public survey and promised to take action based on the results, which showed 93 per cent of people were in favour of keeping the same Daylight Saving Time hours year-round. The survey did not ask if people would rather have year-round standard time.

B.C.’s provincial government introduced legislation last fall to stay on Daylight Saving Time. The province will still “spring forward,” but the new legislation would mean it won’t “fall back” on Nov. 1. The bill is in the works and has not yet been formally announced, but it won’t change what happens for B.C. residents on March 8.

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Some less populated regions of B.C. will ignore Daylight Saving Time this spring, along with a few communities in Ontario and Quebec.

Saskatchewan is a different case altogether. The province is technically within the Mountain timezone but it follows Central Standard Time, which puts it one hour ahead of Mountain Standard Time. It remains on Central Standard Time all year, despite the common perception that it’s on permanent Mountain Daylight Time.

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This will also mark the last year that the European Union employs Daylight Saving Time, as it’s already voted to stop the practice by 2021.

So don’t sweat it when it’s dark in the morning, and enjoy an extra hour of sunlight in the evening. The days will only continue to get longer, and it’ll be summer before you know it.


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