The province recently put out a survey asking Albertans their opinion on abolishing the time change. The survey’s two options included keeping the time change or adopting daylight savings time (DST) all year round, not providing an option for those who would like to see a switch to permanent standard time.
Minister of Service Alberta, Nate Glubish, explained that the decision to only have an option for DST is due to the growing movement towards DST in other jurisdictions.
The same conversation about the time change was held in 2017 when NDP MLA Thomas Dang proposed to put an end to it, but it was voted down.
Glubish stated that a lot of the feedback from that consultation came from the business community with operations across multiple jurisdictions and time zones who felt there was a real danger in acting in isolation.
“Ultimately, [they said] don’t be the only province to do this, but now that there are so many jurisdictions moving in this direction, there is similarly a danger of inaction in isolation or moving in the opposite direction of other jurisdictions,” he said.
He added that there is some great value in being in sync with other jurisdictions who have chosen to stick with DST and that the survey is only the first step in the process.
In Canada it is up to legislation in each municipality to decide on the use of DST.
Currently, some locations don’t follow the DST schedule of their provinces and territories, according to the Government of Canada website.
Most of BC observes the time change to DST each summer, except for part of the Peace River Regional District, Fort Nelson, and Creston, which observe standard time year round.
A few areas in Nunavut, northwestern Ontario, northeastern Quebec, and most of Saskatchewan also remain on standard time throughout the year.
MLA Martin Long stated that while the government has not ruled anything out entirely, the standard practice for most jurisdictions considering a change, is to move to remaining on daylight savings time year-round. BC tabled legislation to move to DST permanently in October, while Yukon private member’s bill to move to DST permanently tabled in November.
Looking south of the border, all but three states within Alberta’s time zone still observe DST in the summer only.
Arizona uses standard mountain time all year round, according to the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology, while Nevada passed a bill in 2015 to make DST permanent and Oregon passed a bill in 2019 to move to DST year-round.
There are also other states outside of Alberta’s time zone that have adopted DST all year round.
If DST is adopted all year-round in Alberta, Hintonites won’t see a sunrise until 10:03 am on Dec. 21, the shortest day of the year, but get to enjoy a few more rays of sunshine until sunset at 5:33 pm.
“Albertans are used to working in the dark, we have very little daylight hours in the winter months,” said Glubish.
If Alberta chooses to standardize on daylight savings time, the province would spring forward one more time and then stay in that timezone thereafter.
When kids are coming home from school or parents are driving home from work they’re going to have an extra hour of daylight at the end of a long day, added Glubish.
“I think it’s important to consider, yes we have a limited amount of daylight in the winter, we have to make the most of it and that would be the outcome of standardizing on DST,” added Glubish.
Glubish added that the survey will determine what Albertans would like to see happen with the time change, even though it doesn’t include all the options.
The survey will be online for another two weeks before results will be determined.
Glubish concluded that he can’t presuppose what the next steps will be and didn’t state whether the province would revise the survey to add another option.
“I think it’s important to hear all of my constituents’ concerns before committing to supporting any changes. I know that any changes we move forward with will consider safety, and support the hardworking Albertans,” said Long.
Feedback collected will help to inform the government as changes to existing legislation are being considered and Long encourages his constituents to submit their feedback to alberta.ca/daylight-saving-time-engagement.aspx.