The clock is ticking on Pacific Standard Time this week, so don’t forget to set your clocks ahead one hour for daylight savings at 2 am on Sunday, March 12.

The annual spring forward of the clocks means it will be lighter one hour later at night, but we will lose an hour of sleep Sunday morning.

The clocks change back on Sunday, Nov. 5, 2023, when we get that hour of sleep back and won’t be waking up in the dark. However, there are proposals to make changing the clocks twice a year a thing of the past.

What is Daylight Savings Time?

Daylight Savings Time is a practice of adjusting the clock ahead by one hour during the summer months in order to maximize the use of daylight and conserve energy.

Port Arthur, Ontario (now part of Thunder Bay) was the first city to use daylights savings in Canada beginning on July 1, 1908. The idea was to give people more daylight hours to enjoy outdoor activities and reduce the need for lighting during walking hours. Other regions and countries would adopt it in following years.

What are the benefits?

The benefits of Daylight Savings Time include conserving energy by reducing the need for artificial lighting during the summer months, when there are more daylight hours. By setting the clock ahead one hour, people can take advantage of the extra daylight at night and reduce their use of electricity for lighting.

More daylight hours in the evening may encourage people to engage in outdoor activities, which can promote physical activity and reduce the risk of obesity and other health problems.

Many people appreciate the extra hour of daylight in the evening during the summer months, which can allow for more time spent outdoors and enjoying recreational activities.

What are the downsides of daylight savings?

Daylight Savings Time has been associated with several safety risks, particularly related to sleep disruption and changes in circadian rhythms. When the clocks are adjusted forward or backward by one hour, it can disrupt people’s sleep patterns and lead to a temporary increase in fatigue, which can increase the risk of accidents and injuries.

Research has shown that the number of traffic accidents and workplace injuries tends to increase in the days immediately following the time change. This is because people may be less alert and more prone to errors when they are sleep-deprived or their circadian rhythms are disrupted.

In addition, the sudden change in daylight can also be disorienting for some people, particularly those who are sensitive to changes in light and darkness. This can lead to an increased risk of accidents, particularly during the morning and evening rush hours when visibility may be reduced.

Overall, the safety risks associated are generally temporary and many people adapt to the time change within a few days. However, it is still important to be aware of the potential risks and take steps to mitigate them, such as getting extra rest before and after the time change, adjusting schedules gradually and being extra cautious while driving or performing other tasks that require attention and focus.

The future of daylight savings in BC

Daylight Savings Time may be here to stay. In 2019, former BC premier John Horgan supported keeping daylight savings year-round.  That same year, the province conducted an online survey with 93 per cent of the 223,273 respondents approving getting rid of the semi-annual time changes.

BC has passed legislation that allows the province to switch to Pacific Daylight Time, but only if the states of Washington, Oregon and California do as well. Those states require approval by the US federal government; a bill was approved by the US Senate last year, but didn’t get voted in the House of Representatives. The bill has since been reintroduced.

Did you know?

Not all of British Columbia follows the time change. The Peace River region is on Mountain Standard Time throughout the year, meaning it shares the same time with Alberta in the winter, but the rest of BC in the summer. The East Kootenays, except for Creston, is on Mountain Standard Time in the winter and Mountain Daylight Time in the summer.

Published on March 10, 2023.