An Ontario MPP says he feels “optimistic” the upcoming end of daylight saving time for 2021 on Saturday could be one of the last the province experiences.
Just under a year ago, Ontario MPPs voted to stop the biannual practice of changing clocks an hour ahead or an hour back, however, it was contingent on the government of Quebec and New York state passing similar laws.
The proposal was first introduced by Ottawa West—Nepean PC MPP Jeremy Roberts in October 2020.
Speaking to Global News on Wednesday, Roberts said he’s seen some “promising signs,” adding he’s reached out to both Premier François Legault in Quebec and New York Gov. Kathy Hochul.
Legault has said in a press conference that he’s open to the idea and while Roberts hasn’t heard back from Hochul, the MPP said a New York state senator has introduced similar legislation.
The implementation is contingent on both Quebec and New York state in order for Ontario to do it “responsibly.”
“When it comes to New York state, we benefit as being in the same time zone as the market in New York City as well as there being a ton of cross-border trade, so we don’t want to do anything to disrupt that,” Roberts said.
When it comes to Quebec, the situation involves Ottawa and the federal government.
“Half of the federal government is in Ottawa and the other half is across the river in Gatineau, so if we went ahead and did this without Quebec, we’d have a weird situation where half of the federal government would be working on one time and the other half on another … so we want to do this responsibly.”
While the idea began as a personal thing for Roberts, who said he doesn’t appreciate how it can make you feel groggy or disrupt sleep patterns, it has now become a issue of safety.
“There’s a ton of academic studies coming out that the time change is bad for our health,” he said. “It’s been linked to heart attacks, strokes, fatal car crashes, less productivity at work … a whole bunch of studies that really suggests that this is outdated and doing more harm than good.”
On Oct. 26, Albertans voted 50.2 per cent no while 49.8 per cent voted yes on a referendum question about whether residents wanted to do away with the practice.
With more than 535,000 Albertans voting to keep with the status quo of changing clocks, the vote had a differential margin of 2,834.
However, in Ontario, Roberts said polling has suggested that over 70 per cent of Ontarians would be in favour of ending the two changes per year.
Roberts’ legislation took only 55 days to receive royal assent after being first introduced.
“If we can do this in Ontario in 55 days with unanimous support of all parties, I feel optimistic that Quebec and New York and others can do the same thing.”
On Monday, Canadians with a Bell phone had their phones erroneously turned back due to a clock error from the company, according to the telecom giant.
According to reports, some users had their clocks automatically roll back an hour to reflect the end of daylight saving — just under a week prematurely.
“Some clients may have experienced an incorrect time change on their phone this morning. Our teams are investigating the situation in order to resolve the issue as quickly as possible. We apologize for the inconvenience,” the company wrote in a tweet.
—with files from Ahmar Khan