No more yearly time change – Queen’s Park getting closer but big hurdles remain

By Richard Southern

Jeremy Roberts grumbles about having to change his car clock this weekend when the time change happens early Sunday morning, but unlike most, Roberts is actually doing something about it.

The MPP for Ottawa West-Nepean introduced a private members bill at Queens Park last year that would see the yearly time change eliminated, leaving Ontario’s clocks permanently daylight saving time.

The bill passed the legislature with unanimous support on November 30 but there is a big catch before we can forget about falling back and springing forward.

The bill requires that the province of Québec and New York State also scrap the time change and move permanently to daylight saving time. Roberts tells 680NEWS that he has sent letters to Québec Premier François Legault and Andrew Cuomo, the governor of New York State, requesting a meeting on the matter.

Roberts says he hasn’t yet heard back from either, although Legault recently said in an immediate interview that he was open to the idea.

RELATED: Get ready to ‘spring forward’ this weekend, clocks go ahead Sunday morning

“We’ve actually heard from a number of folks in Québec who have written to us and have said they are starting to contact their local officials,” says the MPP.

“Down in the states there’s actually a New York State senator who’s introduced a bill into the New York legislature to bring about permanent daylight savings time, now there’s a bit of a complication in the US – The New York state assembly can pass a bill to make permanent daylight savings time but they need permission their national government, from the Congress.”

“But there’s good news there as well, a senator from Florida has just introduced legislation in the national senate in the U.S. to bring about permanent daylight saving time, so lots of moving pieces on the go but some progress, at least,” added Roberts.

The MPP contends scrapping the time change is important, mainly because there’s a lot of academic evidence that suggests the time change is outdated, that it creates an increase in depression and an increase in fatal car crashes.

Evidence shows it could cause more heart attacks and strokes as well.

RELATED: A move of the clocks – Ontario braces for what could be last Daylight saving time

“Beyond that, we’re pitching that we move to permanent daylight saving time, which would mean we spring forward and stay there,” Roberts says.

“It would mean more sunlight in the afternoon and evening, and there are some studies that show that this could actually help with small businesses.”

“There’s a U.S. study that showed when we move out of daylight saving time, retail takes about a 3.5 percent hit and folks speculate that’s because people get home from work in school and it’s dark out and they don’t want to go out,” he said.

Roberts states it’s wise for Ontario to wait on Québec and New York to make a similar time change because border towns, particularly Gatineau and Ottawa would be on differing times if Ontario went it alone.

The Toronto and New York stock markets could also differ if Ontario moved before New York State.

While the hands of the government tick slowly, Roberts is confident the yearly time change will soon be a thing of the past and his struggle with his car clock will be over.

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