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In 2019, B.C. moved to make Daylight Saving Time permanent. Since then, time has stood still.

Fate of proposed change in B.C. lies in the hands of American legislators
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The pending introduction of permanent daylight savings time could impact the safety of children as they would be walking to school in the dark during large parts of winter. (Black Press Media file photo)

Time appears to be standing still on plans to make Daylight Saving Time permanent in B.C., but it is not necessarily the provincial government hitting the snooze button on the issue.

The change would mean later sunrises and sunsets – with more sunlight in the evening hours. But it appears increasingly likely that British Columbians will likely spring forward at least one more time on March 12, when standard time ends and daylight saving begins.

In October 2019, then-attorney general and now premier, David Eby, introduced legislation that would make daylight saving permanent in ending the practice of changing clocks twice a year, so long as the Yukon and Pacific Northwest states of Washington, Oregon and California committed to also making the shift.

The proposed switch received support from 93 per cent of British Columbians, according to a provincial survey at the time.

What other neighbouring regions have decided

Yukon residents last changed their clocks on March 8, 2020.

Oregon and Washington State passed legislation in 2019 to make daylight savings permanent, while voters in California passed a proposition in favour of the change in November 2018. That proposition detailed that the change would be able to become permanent only if two-thirds of legislators agreed and the federal government allows it.

When former premier John Horgan last addressed delegates at the Union of British Columbia Municipalities convention in 2022, he pointed to California as holding up the change on this side of the border. But it is not just California.

All states wanting to make the permanent switch are waiting on Washington. The U.S. Senate passed the Sunshine Protection Act in March 2022 but the House of Representatives, now controlled by Republicans, has yet to vote on the issue.

If the bill passes, it would take effect in November 2023, however passage does not necessarily guarantee that state legislatures would quickly follow.

The Premier’s office did not return Black Press Media’s request for comment in time for publication.

Benefits include forecast boost to economy, overall health

Supporters of the change in B.C. say permanent daylight saving would align the provincial economy with its southern and northern neighbours. Health experts also say it would improve overall wellness by foregoing the taxing time changes; economists suspect it could also give people more sunlight in the evening hours, in which they could spend more money.

Experts also say it would improve traffic safety by shifting an hour of daylight to the busier evening traffic hours during the later months of the years.

There is a flip side, however: the sun would not rise until after 8:45 a.m. in the winter months – raising concerns about the safety of children and others walking to school or work.

Under the current system, the sun typically rises at about 7:45 a.m. at the beginning of December.

RELATED: Pending move to permanent daylight savings raises safety issues around Greater Victoria schools


@wolfgangdepner
wolfgang.depner@blackpress.ca

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Wolf Depner

About the Author: Wolf Depner

I joined the national team with Black Press Media in 2023 from the Peninsula News Review, where I had reported on Vancouver Island's Saanich Peninsula since 2019.
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