Remember to ‘spring forward’ March 12


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On Sunday, March 12 at 2 a.m., we’ll all be setting our clocks ahead an hour, owing to daylight saving time – something we experience each year on the second Sunday in March, and then reverse on the first Sunday of November. As we “spring ahead” – and even as we groan because we have to get up an hour earlier — most of us will appreciate it being lighter in the evenings as the weather begins to warm up.

The concept behind daylight savings time – and the reason it caught on – seems to relate to conserving energy and making better use of daylight when the days are longer in spring and summer. The first time the idea was raised appears to be in an article written by Bejamin Franklin wrote in 1784 while in Paris, in which he satirically suggested the economic benefits that would ensue if workers’ hours were set around daylight, instead of paying for lighting in the dark evening hours. The concept was formally proposed to England’s Parliament in the early 1900s, and was implemented in Germany and then America during the First World War when resources such as coal (which was burned to produced electricity) became scarce. Canada began to implement daylight savings on a municipality-by-municipality basis, with Winnipeg opting in on April 24, 1916.

By the 1960s, other than exceptions such as Saskatchewan, Yukon, and some parts of Ontario, Quebec and B.C., most of Canada was using daylight savings time, synchronized with neighbouring American states. Many other countries began adopting daylight saving time during the global energy crisis in the 1970s and today, daylight saving time is implemented across most North American and European countries.


Daylight saving time begins at 2 a.m. on March 12, when we will set our clocks ahead one hour. Could this be the last time?

More recently, there have been discussions about eliminating daylight savings time. Recent analyses of actual energy savings are not conclusive, with lower lighting costs offset by higher air conditioning costs in office space. More opportunities for outdoor summer evening activities would seem like a positive benefit, as well as safety issues for kids walking to school on dark winter mornings; however, some medical research has suggested that changes to the body’s internal clock can result in health problems, including sleep loss, cardiovascular issues and greater incidents of car accidents during the adjustment period each spring.

Bills in the Manitoba, B.C. and Ontario legislatures have called for these provinces to permanently move to daylight saving time. Despite their passage, the laws have not yet been proclaimed legislation. Any permanent move will require both public support and legislators say the U.S. would have to lead the way.

Nick Barnes

Nick Barnes
Whyte Ridge community correspondent

Nick Barnes is a community correspondent for Whyte Ridge.

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