Jeremy Roberts grumbles about having to change his car clock this weekend when the time change happens early Sunday morning, but, unlike most, he’s 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 in daylight saving time.
The bill passed the legislature with unanimous support on November 30, but there is a big catch before Ontarians can forget about falling back and springing forward.
“It would mean more sunlight in afternoon and evening”
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 told 680 NEWS that he has sent letters to Québec’s premier François Legault and governor of New York State Andrew Cuomo requesting a meeting on the matter. Roberts said he hasn’t yet heard back from either, although Legault recently said an interview that he was open to the idea.
“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,” Roberts said.
He added that in the United States, a bill has been introduced in the New York legislature about bringing permanent daylight saving time, but their system is slightly more complicated.
“The New York state assembly can pass a bill to make permanent daylight savings time but they need permission their national government, from Congress, but there’s good news there as well,” he explained.
“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.”
“When we move out of daylight savings time retail takes about a 3.5 per cent hit”
Roberts contends scrapping the time change is important. He said there’s a lot of academic evidence that suggests the time change is outdated, that it creates an increase in depression and an increase in fatal car crashes.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.
“Beyond that we’re pitching that we move to permanent daylight savings times, which would mean we spring forward and stay there,” he explained.
“It would mean more sunlight in 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 savings time retail takes about a 3.5 per cent 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.”
Roberts said it’s wise for Ontario to wait on Québec and New York to make a similar time change move because border towns, particularly Gatineau and Ottawa, would be on differing times if Ontario went at it alone. The Toronto and New York Stock markets could also differ if Ontario moved before New York State.
While the hands of 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.