B.C. Premier John Horgan is expressing optimism that all British Columbians are done with the semi-annual ritual of switching our clocks.
The B.C. government is awaiting the results of a province-wide public consultation before making a final decision on sticking to permanent Daylight Saving Time.
The province is also awaiting a decision from the U.S. Congress on the issue, after the states of Washington, Oregon and California formally requested a move to permanent Daylight Saving Time this year.
Right now all three states, and most of British Columbia, move the clocks forward an hour in the spring and back an hour in the fall.
But Horgan says the time has come to put a stop to that.
“All three jurisdictions to the south have already taken action,” he said. “Now they need action from the Congress in Washington, D.C.. I am hopeful the three governors will be able to move quickly and we will be able to respond in the fall and we will not have to move our clocks again.
“For British Columbians that are tired of changing their clock, I think we are almost at the end of it.”
The province has released preliminary numbers from the public consultation. So far the survey has been the most popular consultation in the province’s history, with more than 158,000 responses after just one week.
Compare that to the 19,291 surveys that were completed in the seven days following the launch of the engagement on cannabis regulations.
“This is an issue that has been percolating for a long, long time. People are reminded twice a year that they don’t like it,” Horgan said.
“I haven’t seen the breakout of whether they are pro or con. But 158,000 people responding are usually responding because they are passionate about something. I have not met many people on the street who are saying, ‘I want to change my clock back in the fall and spring forward.’ Nobody.”
WATCH (Aired March 11, 2019): Permanent Daylight Saving Time coming soon?
The survey will be available until 4 p.m. on July 19.
In March, U.S. President Donald Trump suggested that he is open to permanently keeping Daylight Saving Time.
“Making Daylight Saving Time permanent is O.K. with me!” Trump tweeted.
Beyond the U.S., the European Union is considering abandoning the practice by 2021.
Earlier this year, Horgan sent a letter to the governors of Washington, Oregon and California asking to be kept in the loop on their plans regarding no longer changing the clocks twice a year.
Horgan says there are too many economic and social ties that prevent British Columbia from going ahead with the switch without the other coastal jurisdictions.
BC Liberal MLA Linda Larson has introduced a private member’s bill that would establish a new time zone for the coast, dubbed Pacific Daylight Standard Time Zone.
Larson says she has done extensive research on keeping the clocks consistent and has found that moving them twice a year has negative health impacts, leads to more crashes on the road and can be a nightmare for parents with young children.
“I hope that when we move our clocks, we never have to turn them back,” Larson said in March when B.C. last switched the clocks. “I would love to see us on the same time zone as the rest of British Columbia. The northeast and the southeast are already on Daylight Saving Time.”
Tara Holmes help start the Stop the Time Change BC petition. She says she isn’t surprised by the massive response from the public to the consultation.
“I am not surprised at all,” Holmes said.
“People are really tired of the time change. It is something they just want to abolish. More cities, provinces, countries are coming on board in stopping the time change. It is so outdated. It’s from World War I and that war is over.”
WATCH (Aired March 7, 2019): Daylight Saving Time debate starts again
Holmes kicked off the advocacy work in 2015. Last year, the Union of B.C. Municipalities approved a motion to keep the clocks consistent province-wide, year-round.
“Our goal was when we started this in 2015 we would have this done by 2020. Fingers crossed,” Holmes said.
“What we are hoping now is we will be told we are not going to fall back.”
A popularly-cited study relating to traffic accidents and their link to Daylight Saving Time was published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1996.
The research, based on data from 1991 and 1992, suggested that traffic incidents rose by eight per cent on the Monday after the clock turned forward, and fell by roughly the same amount on the Monday following the switch back.
One review conducted by a physician at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto looked at 16 traffic studies. Six of the studies indicated an increased risk of crashes after the spring time change, three indicated a decreased risk and seven found no significant difference either way.
A study published in 2008 in the New England Journal of Medicine by researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm is popularly cited as showing that heart attack cases increased by five per cent in the week after clocks were adjusted both in the spring and autumn.
But other research has produced conflicting results.
German researchers, who looked at 25,000 cases of fatal and non-fatal heart attacks recorded in Germany between 1995 and 2010, found no significant change in heart attacks in the general population — only an increased risk among specific subgroups, such as men who had previously experienced heart attacks.
© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.