With an overwhelming survey response from B.C. residents showing a preference to move to permanent daylight saving time, the South Okanagan MLA who spearheaded the discussions said it is now time for action.
More than 93 per cent of the record 223,273 British Columbians who completed the province’s survey on time observance indicated they want to shift to permanent daylight saving time and Boundary-Similkameen MLA Linda Larson is calling on the premier to do something about it.
“I see that the response from the general public was very positive towards maintaining daylight savings time all year round. I sincerely hope that the premier moves forward on doing that,” said Larson. “I understand the practicality of maintaining the same time zone as our neighbours to the south but I believe the premier can go ahead and do this regardless. If B.C. can be a leader on this I am sure they will follow suit very, very quickly.”
Larson said it was originally put on the floor at the 2017 UBCM by the community of Grand Forks. She introduced Bill M201 in late November at the end of the fall session and moved it be placed on the orders of the day for second reading at the next sitting of the House. At the time, she told the Western News she had hoped it would be guided by public opinion through online surveys.
On Tuesday, the final results of the province’s report, conducted through a public opinion survey, were released. More than half (54 per cent) responded that it was “important” or “very important” for B.C. to be aligned with neighbouring jurisdictions in its time observe practices. According to the office of the premier, the results will be considered alongside decisions made by jurisdictions in Canada and the western United States and the province determines the best course of action moving forward. Lawmakers in Washington, Oregon and California are in various stages of creating or enacting legislation, that pending federal approval, would see those states adopt year-round observance of daylight saving time — opting out of turning the clocks back an hour each fall and then ahead in the spring.
“The people of B.C. have spoken and their collective voice has come through loudly and clearly,” said Premier John Horgan in a news release. “This engagement has done exactly as we hoped it would in providing clarity about a preferred direction. The insights generated will be relied upon as we make a final decision about how to move forward.”
Of those who responded to the survey, 75 per cent identified health and wellness concerns as a reason for their support. As well, 53 per cent of respondents noted the benefits of additional daylight during the evening commute in winter. Support for the year-round observance of DST was higher than 90 per cent across all industry groups and in all occupational groups, except for students.
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