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We could actually get rid of daylight saving time pretty easily – and start our own crazy time zone, too!

Posted on 8 March 2015

Don’t forget to spring ahead! It’s time to lose an hour of sleep to daylight saving time!

Here’s some reasons daylight saving may not be worthwhile: it increases the risk of heart attack, it’s bad for kids, it increases car accidents, and it has numerous other costs with no real benefit.

There are, however, some parts of the country that don’t bother: Saskatchewan, parts of Ontario, Nunavut, and right here in British Columbia. The community of Fort Nelson in northeastern B.C. is changing its clocks for the last time, having decided in the last election to join the rest of the Peace region and observe Mountain Standard Time year-round.

After hearing this, I contacted the the Ministry of Community, Sport, and Cultural Development- they oversee local governments, so I figured they would be responsible for this sort of thing. Turns out they weren’t. After some poking around, I found it’s the Ministry of Justice.

The reason for this is the observation of time zones falls under the Interpretation Act, an unwieldy document that basically lays out a bunch of rules on how we should refer to distances and people so that it is legally sound. Time falls under this. So I emailed the Ministry of Justice some questions, which I’ve pasted along with their answers below:

Q. Who actually decides what time zone a community is in?

A. The Interpretation Act regulates the use of daylight saving time (DST), which was adopted after a provincewide plebiscite in 1952. However, the provincial government does not require that all parts of the province observe Pacific Time or DST. Some areas in the province have historically observed Mountain Time or have chosen not to observedaylight saving time.

Q. Can they just say “we’re in a new time zone now” and that’s it? Or is there some oversight?

A. The decision can be made by the local community.

Q. And who has the authority to change it?

A. While communities may change the time zone they observe, when dealing in matters of provincial law, Pacific Time applies.

The short version of this is that although legal documents require us to use Pacific Time as decided by the province, for conventional purposes we can do whatever the heck we want. The decision to change time zones is entirely in the hands of the same people who are in charge of parking meters and dog licences: your local government. At the next city council meeting, someone could propose we observe Azerbaijan Time Mondays and Thursday and Easter Island Summer Time the rest of the week, and if the rest of council agrees, we could be on crazy kooky time before summer rolls around. In practice, they’d probably want to get buy-in from the community – most likely a plebiscite to abolish Daylights Savings at the next local election – but heck, that’s pretty easy, too.

One other thing: everyone should know that the reason we even have daylight saving is this guy wanted to collect more bugs.

Filed under: British Columbia

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