End the observation of Daylight-Savings Time in Ontario

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This is a petition to gather support to propose a bill to amend Ontario's Time Act, R.S.O. 1990, Chapter T.9, the act that governs the observation of daylight saving time ("DST"). The proposal is to completely abolish the observation of DST and permanently adopt Eastern Standard Time or Central Standard Time, thus eliminating the bi-annual time change in Ontario.

Ontario has been observing DST for many decades. This practice forces everyone in the province to move the time back an hour in the fall to provide an extra hour of daylight in the morning, while time moves up by an hour in the spring. DST was originally put in force because it was believed that it would save on electricity.

The reasons that DST should be abolished include:

  • The number of jurisdictions that do and do not observe daylight-savings time;
  • The effect fall time change has on individuals mental health;
    Increase of health issues during spring time change;
  • Increase of car collisions during spring time change;
  • Loss of economic productivity during spring time change; and,
  • Energy savings from observing daylight saving time are negligible.

Reasons to change the Act in order to effectively repeal daylight-savings time:

1.      Only one quarter of the countries of the world actually observe daylight saving time. Western jurisdictions that do not observe daylight saving time include:

  • Arizona;
  • Hawaii;
  • Queensland; and,
  • Saskatchewan.

Since other jurisdictions are not using daylight savings time it shows that it is not needed for interjurisdictional economic reasons.

Other jurisdictions are looking to abolish the bi-annual change in time. These jurisdictions include:

  • European Union;
  • Florida;
  • Tennessee
  • Alberta;
  • British Columbia; and,
  • Michigan.

2.      The fall time change causes unnecessary mental health issues with the time change in the autumn.

  • Around 2-3% of Canadians suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (“SAD”), while an additional 15% suffer from the less severe winter blues (10% of depression cases are as a result of SAD). SAD is a mental health issue that affects those in the northern hemisphere because of the lack of natural sunlight providing people with vitamin D. The lack of vitamin D causes depression.
  • The article “Daylight saving Time Transitions and the Incidence Rate of Unipolar Depressive Episodes” was published in the May 2017 Volume 28, Issue 3 in Epitomology by researchers from the University of Copenhagen and University of Standford. International researchers looked at Danish hospital intake records from 1995 to 2012 that included 185,419 diagnoses of depression. Hospital admissions for depression increased as winter came, but there was always a spike of admissions the month immediately following the changing of clocks; typically an 11 percent rise in depression diagnoses, which dissipated in the 10 weeks following. While the researchers focused on those with severe depression, the authors say the time shift likely affects “the entire spectrum of severity”. The researchers believe that the spike has to do with the way daylight saving manipulates our hours of light and dark. Moving the hour of daylight from the afternoon to early morning, a time when most people are indoors anyway the authors say, whereas when people have some spare time in the afternoon or evening it is already dark. The researchers believe that daylight saving time effects people psychologically because the time change forces people to acknowledge that winter and the shorter days that come with it are coming.

3.      The time change in the spring  also causes issues:

Health is adversely effected with an increase of heart attacks:

  • A study presented to the American College of Cardiology in March 2014 based on data collected from Michigan hospitals between 2010 and 2013 showing a spike of 25% for patients admitted for heart attacks after the time change in the spring.
  • 2012 study by the University of Alabama at Birmingham found that there was a 10 percent increase in the risk of heart attack over the following 48 hours.
  • A Swedish study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2008 found approximately a 7 percent increase of the incidence of heart attacks in the first three weekdays after the time change, which was attributed to a lack of sleep. This information was based on 20 years of Swedish records.

Car Accidents:

  • An October 2014 study by the University of Colorado (Boulder) looked at records of fatal car crashes in the United States. It noted a 17 per cent rise in traffic accident-related deaths on the Monday after clocks moved forward an hour in the spring. Research done by University of British Columbia showed similar findings.
  • A 1999 study released by researchers at Johns Hopkins University and Stanford University analysed 21 years of fatal car crash data from the US National Highway Transportation Safety Administration and discovered a slight increase of road deaths. The number of deadly accidents went from an average of 78.2 on any given Monday to an average of 83.5 the Monday following the change.

Loss of productivity:

  • A study conducted by researchers at the University of Education, Heidelberg, Im Neuenheimer (Germany) and published in Volume 10 of Issue 9 the Journal of Sleep Medicine in October 2009 (“Daytime sleepiness during transition into daylight saving time in adolescents: Are owls higher at risk?”) that looked at how the change in time affects undergraduate students. Their findings included that the transition to daylight saving time does lead to sleepiness for a period of approximately three weeks. However, the effects on those that are night owls is a lot higher. In the end the researchers suggested that it would be unfair to assess students in the three weeks following the spring change in time due to the disruption in student’s sleep cycles.
  • Other research (“The Human Circadian Clock's Seasonal Adjustment Is Disrupted by Daylight Saving Time”, Current Biology, vol. 17, issue 22, November 2007) has come to the conclusion that no one ever really adjusts to Daylight saving Time since our bodies natural circadian rhythm adjusts to gradual changes when the sun is up, rather than the artificial time set by Daylight-Savings time.

4.      Energy Savings

There is data to show that daylight saving does not necessarily result in energy savings.

  • In May 2007, the California Energy Commission published a report that found only a 0.2% annual savings, with a margin of error of 1.5%. The U.S. Department of Energy has said that there is a 0.5% savings in electricity.
  • A Report to Congress in October 2008 by the Department of Energy of the United States found the following with extended daylight saving time:
  1. There was just 0.03 percent per year in electricity savings that could be attributed to extended daylight saving time;  
  2. Negligible statistical difference in the consumption of gasoline and traffic patterns; and,
  3. Primary energy consumption savings represented just 0.02% of yearly consumption.

5.      Economic Impacts

  • People tend to shop, dine out and participate in other commercial activities during daylight hours. Scrapping the fall time change would mean that people would generally stay out after work and school, generating more economic activity during winter months.
  • A 2013 Index published by Chmura Economics & Analytics suggested that the total cost of the spring time change based on health impacts, loss in productivity and workplace accidents in the United States was $434 million.

WHEREAS observing the bi-annual time change has adverse effects on resident's mental and physical health, including depression and heart attacks;

WHEREAS observing daylight saving time causes an increase in car accidents;

WHEREAS daylight savings time results in economic losses from productivity, health and activity costs; and,

WHEREAS the energy savings from observing daylight saving time is negligible.

We, the undersigned, propose that the Ontario Legislature eliminate the observation of daylight savings time:

TO decrease the effects of SAD and winter blues on Ontario residents;

TO eliminate the adverse health and economic implications associated with the spring time change; and,

TO improve commercial economic activity during winter months.

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