Daylight saving time (DST) has been part of Canada for a long time. In fact, Port Arthur, Ontario (now Thunder Bay) was the first municipality in the world to enact DST way back in 1908. But now it’s looking like the Yukon may be taking steps to end the decades old practice.
On November 4, the Yukon party tabled legislation that would grant the government power to end the practice of DST in the territory after a legally mandated 60-day consultation. The legislation, titled, Act to Eliminate Daylight Saving Time would give the government the authority to set standard time, and as a result, allow them to end the practice of DST. The actions of the Yukon Party follow suit with British Columbia, that introduced similar legislation just last week. Before tabling the legislation, the government of British Columbia held a consultation process that found 93 percent of respondents in favour of eliminating DST.
Daylight Saving Time was first proposed in 1895, and started seeing actual implementation in the early 1900’s. By changing the hours on the clock, it is possible to gain an extra hour of sunlight after work or school, however it can also cause complications in time keeping and disrupt sleep patterns. Additionally, in high latitude regions, such as the Yukon, DST has little effect given the extreme variation in sunlight hours we already receive. Given how quickly the days start getting shorter north of 60, the benefits of DST are limited in the far north. Indeed, several Canadian regions have already shunned the practice, including most of Saskatchewan, that made the switch back in 1966.
The move to eliminate the practice has been under consideration in the Yukon for some time. In May 2017, the Association of Yukon Communities passed a motion recommending the Government of Yukon to determine if there was a case for ending the practice. In 2018 the Yukon Party requested the liberals to consult Yukoners on the possibility of eliminating DST. Now with British Columbia and the Pacific U.S. considering making the change, Yukon is looking at its clocks once more.
The proposed legislation would require the Yukon government to hold public consultations for at least 60 days before the Act can come into force. The consultations give Yukoners an option asking: “Do you want the Yukon to eliminate the time change? And if so, do you want the Yukon to stay on Pacific Standard Time, or do you want to spring forward one hour, and use that as our new standard time?”