Advance Newfoundland Standard Time by One-half Hour

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Petition to Advance Newfoundland Standard Time

This petition calls upon the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to enact legislation at the earliest possible date to advance Newfoundland Standard Time by one-half hour and apply Daylight Saving Time at the same time and in the same manner as at present. This would increase the daily evening daylight time on the island and in coastal Labrador by one-half hour.

Factors supporting the advancement of Newfoundland Standard Time by one-half hour include:

1. Newfoundland summers arrive later than in many parts of the world. Our longest days are in June, but it’s usually mid-July or later before it feels like summer has begun here. By that time, our days have been getting shorter for nearly a month. By mid-August the days are already 100 minutes shorter than at the beginning of summer. The sun sets almost an hour earlier but still rises before 6:00 AM.

Few people stop to consider that the warm days of mid-August are the same length as the days of late April. Moving half an hour of summertime early morning daylight and warmth to the evenings would allow residents of the island and coastal Labrador to get more enjoyment out of our warmest summer days.

2. Other northern latitude regions experience more evening daylight than we do. Much of Scandinavia has about half an hour more evening daylight. European cities such as Oslo, Paris, and Madrid have approximately one hour more evening daylight than St. John’s.

3. Workers and students would enjoy an additional half hour of daylight, warmth, and leisure time for family and recreational activities after work and school.

4. Those involved in recreational and sporting activities would benefit (no softball or soccer games cut short because of darkness, enough time to finish 18 holes of golf before dark, adequate time to conclude a relaxing barbecue in the sun rather than in darkness, more time for after-supper walks, longer evening gardening time, more time for evening fishing, etc.).

5. Since Newfoundland and Labrador has the oldest and most rapidly aging population in the country, advancing Newfoundland Standard Time would be especially beneficial to retirees and seniors by providing extended evening daylight time for activities such as golfing, gardening, walking, hiking, fishing, etc. Nearly 110,000 residents of the province are 65 years or older, representing more than 20% of the population (1of every 5 people). Thirty years ago, only 9% of the population, or 1 in 11, was over 65.

6. The tourism industry would also benefit from extended evening daylight. Tourists are attracted to Newfoundland and Labrador by its magnificent rugged beauty and
by outdoor activities such as whale watching, fishing, hiking, boating, iceberg watching, and so on. Advancing the time zone by half an hour would provide an opportunity to schedule more and longer outdoor tourist activities in the evenings.

7. Extending evening daylight time would generate savings in terms of fuel and electricity costs. Turning lights on and heat up half an hour later every day will generate savings. This is an important consideration for seniors and others on fixed incomes considering the current high costs of fuel and electricity and the projected increases that the Muskrat Falls project will bring.

8. There would be a reduction in highway accidents, including moose/vehicle collisions, because there would be less driving in evening darkness when most accidents occur. A 2004 US study found that year-round daylight-saving time would reduce vehicle occupant fatalities by about 3%.

9. There would also be a significant decline in vehicle/pedestrian accidents and deaths. The US study referenced above found that year-round daylight-saving time would reduce pedestrian fatalities by about 13%. The pedestrian fatality rate is higher than the vehicle fatality rate because, while the overall accident rate may be similar, vehicle occupants are protected and are less likely to get killed than pedestrians.

10. Western Labrador, where evenings are already longer than on the island and in coastal Labrador, is not in the Newfoundland Time Zone. It would not be affected by advancing Newfoundland Standard Time. Its Standard and Daylight Saving Time practices would continue as at present.

In view of the factors outlined above, the signatories to this petition call upon the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to enact legislation to advance Newfoundland Standard Time by one-half hour.