Will Ontario follow suit after U.S. Senate passes bill to kill time changes?

Now that the U.S. has voted to make Daylight Saving Time permanent, many are wondering if Ontario will follow suit. Carl Hanstke has reaction from commuters.

By Mike Visser and Richard Southern

As Ontario residents continue to wipe the cobwebs from their eyes and struggle to adjust to Daylight Saving Time, an end could be nearing to bi-annual time changes.

The U.S. Senate has voted unanimously to make Daylight Saving Time permanent, which could pave the way for Canadian provinces to follow suit.

The so-called Sunshine Protected Act was introduced by Republican Sen. Marco Rubio last year and touts the potential benefits to the economy that an extra hour of daylight could bring.

The measure still needs the approval of the U.S. House of Representatives and President Joe Biden before it becomes law.

The Ontario legislature passed a bill in November 2020 to put an end to time changes and keep the province permanently on Daylight Saving Time. The bill received royal assent but has yet to be proclaimed into law because it was contingent on New York and Québec making the same change, which has yet to happen.

The Member of Provincial Parliament who introduced that private member’s bill believes it would be crucial to get Quebec on board with any potential move to permanent Daylight Saving Time before Ontario makes the leap.

“I just think it would be a logistical nightmare for us if for half the year Quebec and Ontario were on different times and you would have people trying to drive back and forth for meetings and trying to keep track of which time is which,” said Jeremy Roberts, MPP for Ottawa West-Napean. “It would just end up being a mess. I really do think we need to get Quebec on board.”

Premier Doug Ford was asked last week about the possibility of Ontario forging ahead on its own, but he appeared reluctant to make the change without the support of neighbouring states and provinces.

“No, I think will stick with the Daylight Saving Time, just be like the rest of North America,” Ford said in Barrie, Ont. on Friday.

Many of those in favour of a permanent move to Daylight Save Time point to the regular uptick in vehicle collisions following time changes, along with the potential energy savings and health benefits that come with better sleep patterns.

Those against the move argue that bi-annual time changes ensure brighter mornings. If Ontario moves to permanent Daylight Saving Time, cities like Toronto and Ottawa wouldn’t see dawn break until about 8:45 a.m. in December and January.

Daylight Saving Time in the wee hours of Sunday morning and will be in place until November 6, 2022 — on which date clocks will “fall back.”

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