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Yukon to make Daylight Saving Time permanent after final time change Sunday

B.C. government to table Daylight Saving Time legislation
WATCH: B.C. government to table Daylight Saving Time legislation (Oct. 13, 2019)

When people living in the Yukon switch their clocks forward to Daylight Saving Time Saturday night, it will be for the last time.

The government announced Wednesday that the territory will keep the time change permanent, after hearing an overwhelming majority of residents said they would rather remain an hour ahead than switch back in November.

“Yukoners clearly want to see an end to seasonal time change and we are listening,” Premier Sandy Silver said in a statement. “The response to this engagement speaks to the importance of this issue for people.

“Thank you to everyone who took the time to voice an opinion. This helped our government make an informed decision for Yukon.”

READ MORE: B.C. Premier John Horgan hoping all provinces will ‘follow suit’ on permanent Daylight Saving Time

The territory asked residents to give their thoughts on giving up seasonal time changes between Jan. 6 and Feb. 16. More than 4,800 individuals and organizations responded to the online survey, along with over 35 written submissions, marking the highest public engagement in the Yukon’s history.

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Of those respondents, 93 per cent said they wanted the clocks to stay put year-round. Seventy per cent also said they wanted to stick with Daylight Saving Time, which typically means more sunlight that lasts later into the evening.

The Yukon’s announcement comes as B.C. mulls its own permanent Daylight Saving Time.

Huge majority of British Columbians want Daylight Saving Time permanent
Huge majority of British Columbians want Daylight Saving Time permanent

The province also saw 93 per cent of respondents to an online survey say they want to do away with seasonal time changes. The survey, held late last year, saw more than 223,000 people respond.

But notably, B.C.’s survey did not ask which time zone people wanted to stay in: Daylight Saving Time or Standard Time. Legislation passed in the fall will make Daylight Saving Time permanent once enacted.

B.C. Premier John Horgan has said he wants to wait until all West Coast governments on both sides of the border — Yukon, Washington, Oregon and California — are ready to make the change together.

READ MORE: New legislation coming to keep B.C.’s clocks fixed, but seasonal time changes not yet over

Washington and Oregon have passed their own legislation in line with B.C.’s, but Congress needs to approve them first before they can be enacted. California has not yet passed such a measure, but a referendum found a majority of residents there support ending time changes.

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Horgan told reporters Wednesday it’s unlikely that will be on Washington’s radar before the next time change in November, as all eyes are tuned to that month’s presidential and Congressional elections.

“In our consultation, there was a desire, a majority, that we work in lockstep with our neighbours in the south, but we’re not bound by that,” he said.

READ MORE: The pros and cons of switching to permanent Daylight Saving Time

He added that public comments would be monitored over the next two weeks as Daylight Saving Time sets in to determine his next moves.

Horgan seemed to be aware of the Yukon’s announcement, which had not yet been made. He did not allude to whether the Yukon’s decision would impact B.C.’s plans.

He continued to say, however, that he would prefer all jurisdictions work together to make the time change as seamless as possible.

“I understand the public’s desire to stop changing clocks. I support that,” he said. “But I also want to make sure we do it in a way that’s not a further disruption to our economy and a further disruption to our relationships east-west and north-south.”

Global News has reached out to the premier’s office for comment.

Debate over Daylight Saving Time re-emerges
Debate over Daylight Saving Time re-emerges