The day to adjust one’s clock has already arrived. Daylight saving time in Canada officially started at 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 13, 2022.
Daylight saving time in Canada always starts on the second Sunday in March. This practice involves setting the clock one hour ahead of standard time (spring forward). It will last for around 8 months, until the first Sunday in November. By then, the clock is adjusted once more to bring it into accordance with standard time (fall back). As such, provinces have a hand in controlling the time, as you will.
Though one may have heard of it being called “daylight savings time,” with an additional “s” to one of its words, it would be more proper to call it what it really is. There should be no “s” in the word “saving” because it acts as an adjective and not a verb. So, it would be grammatically correct to remove the letter “s.”
Where Did Daylight Saving Time Originate From?
The concept of daylight saving time has its history way back in 1784. At that time, Benjamin Franklin wrote the letter, “An Economical Project.”
There, he stated that “Every morning as soon as the sun shall rise, church bells and, if necessary, cannon shall inform the citizenry of the advent of light and awaken the sluggards effectually and make them open their eyes to see their true interests … All the difficulty will be in the first two or three days; after which the reformation will be as natural and easy as the present irregularity. … Oblige a man to rise at four in the morning, and it is probable he will go willingly to bed at eight in the evening.”
With his realization upon waking up to the bright rays of the sun, Franklin advocated for citizens to get up just as the sun does. This can help them save money often spent on the purchase of candlelight, which is used during the night.
An Entomologist from New Zealand
Others tell the story of George Hudson, an entomologist from New Zealand. In 1895, he proposed that the time be set two hours in advance of what it usually is. By doing so, he can still have daylight once he clocks out of work. This time can then be used to go hunting for bugs.
But nothing came into effect with that proposal.
“The Waste of Daylight”
In 1907, the British builder William Willet had a similar realization while riding his horse in the early hours of the morning. Despite the sun having already risen, the shutters of people’s homes were still closed. There was no natural light coming in and people were sleeping the sunlight away.
He then wrote “The Waste of Daylight,” wherein he said, “Everyone appreciates the long, light evenings. Everyone laments their shrinkage as the days grow shorter; and nearly everyone has given utterance to a regret that the nearly clear, bright light of an early morning during Spring and Summer months is so seldom seen or used.”
Despite the standard time being fixed, there can be measures to adjust the clock. This will allow citizens to make use of the daylight in the morning for work instead of wasting it on deep slumber. Doing so becomes an advantage for them because they can still have sunlight at the end of the day, allowing them time for leisure.
At the same time, £2,500,000 every year can be saved by British and Irish nationals because they will have 210 more hours of daylight. Instead of paying for artificial light, citizens can make use of natural light that comes at no cost to them.
His proposal was supported by Winston Churchill and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. But, no matter how much effort he put into it, the British government never approved of the proposal. Other members of the community also did not see the need for such measures. They even claimed that the practice is akin to committing a sin because it is untruthful of what the true time really is.
Daylight Saving Time Gained Traction Because of World War I
When World War I started, there was an urgent need to save energy. In 1916, two years after the war broke out, the German government had to be creative. They thought of ways to encourage citizens to make do without coal and to decrease the use of artificial light. This can help them save up on such resources, which can then be used for war instead.
Inspired by the proposal of Willett, they adopted daylight saving time. By adjusting the clock one hour in advance, citizens would need less energy for their homes. Soon after, many countries, such as the USA, Canada, and those in Europe, followed suit.
Daylight saving time in Canada was formally implemented in 1918. But it was withdrawn at the end of World War I. It was introduced yet again when the Second World War started. At that time, daylight saving time in Canada was observed for all months of the year.
When the war ended, the adoption of daylight saving time across countries varied.
What Provinces Practice Daylight Saving Time in Canada?
Only the province of Saskatchewan has decided not to adjust their clocks in accordance with daylight saving time practices. They remain on Central Standard Time (CST) in whatever month it may be.
A citizen shares, “to me it just sounds like a headache — those provinces having to push forward and push backward on time — so yeah, I just like it simple here and don’t complicate things.”
However, Yukon and a couple of towns located in Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia (B.C.) have decided to do the same.
The provincial governments of B.C., Ontario, Quebec, and Alberta have thought about leaving behind this practice altogether.
In November 2020, Ontario passed a bill to end the practice of changing the clock twice a year. However, this would only occur if New York and Quebec did the same. Doug Ford, the premier of Ontario, recently said that “I think we’ll eventually stick with daylight saving time and just be like the rest of North America.”
The province of B.C. is in the same boat as Ontario. They would need other states across the border to drop daylight saving time. It is only by then that they can similarly implement it provincially.
Last year, Alberta held a referendum on whether citizens preferred to drop the practice of daylight saving time in Canada. On October 26, the majority of those who participated wanted to keep on changing the clocks twice a year. 50.2% voted no, while 49.8% voted yes.
How Does Daylight Saving Time Affect You?
Many believe that it is about time to stop daylight saving time in Canada and the rest of the countries that continue to practice it. It affects an individual’s sleep, lifestyle, and health, bringing potentially negative consequences.
Loss of Sleep
When daylight saving time starts, an individual’s circadian rhythm can be delayed. The 24-hour cycle that regulates sleep, appetite, and mood depends on exposure to light. Adjusting the clock from standard time to daylight saving time results in mornings that are darker and evenings that have more natural light. Because of this, individuals can wake up in the morning but still feel tired. Conversely, they will be more energetic by the time evening comes.
Apart from loss of sleep, it can also affect one’s mood and put them at more risk for suicide.
A study from the University of Turku also found that there is an increased risk of ischemic stroke in the first two days after the clocks have been adjusted. Not only that, a study from New York showed that the number of patients admitted to the hospital due to atrial fibrillation, or irregular heartbeat, increased during the transition to daylight saving time.
Dr. Donald M. Lloyd-Jones, the president of the American Heart Association said, “We don’t really know the specific reason for increases in heart disease and stroke during the daylight saving time change, but it likely has something to do with the disruption to the body’s internal clock, or its circadian rhythm.”
Because drivers feel groggy and tired even after a night of sleep, car crashes can occur as a result. The Fatality Analysis Reporting System published that there is a 6% increase in car accidents during the transition to daylight saving time. Similarly, 28 deaths every year can be attributed to this change in time.
On the second day of the transition to daylight saving time in Canada, there are different steps that individuals can take to cope with the situation. Doing so increases their ability to remain productive and healthy despite the risks that may come with this change.