Premier John Horgan has ruled out changing daylight time because of limited support from the public, but as some U.S. states move closer to abolishing time changes, British Columbia may face more pressure to do the same.
Tuesday night, California voted to pass a proposition that brings the state one step closer to establishing daylight time year-round.
Almost 60 per cent of Californians voted in support of Proposition 7, which gives the legislature the ability to change daylight savings in accordance with federal law.
Similar bills have also been discussed in Washington and Oregon.
One expert finds it hard to imagine that B.C. would be out of step with the time zones of its trading partners if the changes come to pass in West Coast states.
“I think it would be quite disruptive actually,” said Peter Tingling, associate professor at Simon Fraser University’s Beedle School of Business. “These are contiguous or semi-contiguous places that are very important to us economically.”
“We look at Toronto and New York for example being three hours apart but they’re geographically dispersed and we’ve gotten used to it,” added Tingling.
However, the California politician who championed Proposition 7 notes that the state is already out of alignment with neighbouring Arizona.
“People have a mindset that if you go vertically it should stay in one time zone. I don’t think it makes any difference,” said assembly member Kansen Chu. He believes people will get used to changing time zones when they travel north just as easily as when they travel east.
State and federal approval needed
There are still several hurdles to cross before the state can do away with twice-a-year time changes. The California measure still requires a two-thirds vote in the state legislature, as well as a change in federal law by Congress.
For now, the provincial government seems content to wait and see what changes California eventually implements before moving forward. A spokesperson in Horgan’s office said there are no current plans to make a change to daylight time in B.C.
“We’ll watch what’s happening in California and see if it moves forward.”