A record number of British Columbians replied to a provincial government survey about whether to keep or scrap Daylight Saving Time, and the result shows that an overwhelming number of B.C. residents want to stop springing forward and falling back every year.
More than 93 per cent of the record 223,273 British Columbians who completed the online survey on time observance, which ran from June 24 to July 19, 2019, said they favoured a move to permanent Daylight Saving Time (DST).
This desire was consistent across the province, with more than 90 per cent of respondents from each region saying they supported DST. The only group that fell below 90 per cent support was students. Industry groups also indicated that they wanted to see a move to DST.
While 75 per cent of those preferring year-round DST identified health and wellness as a reason for their support, those who said they wanted to retain the current system also cited health and wellness concerns as a reason for their decision. Balancing daylight hours throughout the year was important.
The benefits of having an extra hour of daylight for the evening commute in wintertime were noted by 53 per cent of respondents, and 39 per cent cited other safety concerns as reasons for their support.
However, more than half the respondents (54 per cent) said that it was “important” or “very important” for B.C. to be aligned with neighbouring jurisdictions when it comes to time observance.
In May 2019, Washington state Governor Jay Inslee signed into law a bill that wold put the state on permanent DST; it is currently awaiting Congress approval. Voters in California approved a similar measure in 2018, and a bill is pending in the California legislature that would require the observation of year-round DST if it is authorized by Congress.
A bill that has been passed in the Oregon senate would require all of the state that is in the Pacific Time Zone—all of Oregon except a small part near the Idaho border—to switch to DST if Washington and California do the same. There has also been talk of Idaho eliminating the annual time changes. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, more than 30 US states are considering changes to the current “spring ahead, fall back” system.
A bill advocating a move to DST was defeated in Alberta in 2017.
The results from the B.C. survey will be considered alongside decisions made by jurisdictions in Canada and the western United States as the Province determines the best course of action moving forward.
“I’m very pleased that so many took time to share their views in this important engagement,” says Premier John Horgan. “We will continue to monitor similar debates in neighbouring jurisdictions, keeping in mind the wide-ranging impacts. We want to make sure we consider every implication in determining what is right for B.C.”