The Ontario government wants to make a timely decision. It wants to make daylight savings time (DST) permanent.
The MPP (Member of Provincial Parliament) from Nepean Jeremy Roberts is hoping to stop the clock changing Ontarians perform twice a year. Instead, he wants to make the summertime switch—sometimes known as 'spring forward'—a permanent thing. This would mean that instead of 'falling back' in mid-autumn—setting our clocks back one hour—people in Ontario would just keep them as they are. And never change them again.
The government is fully behind this move, though they ideally want Quebec and New York State to join in, too. And many studies have shown that the clock switching leaves people's bodies and minds feeling confused and tired for days and even weeks after each change.
All of which brings up a question.
What is daylight saving time and why did we want to be on it for half the year in the first place?
No more missing out on summer sun
The idea of daylight saving time dates back to the 1770s, when American stateman Benjamin Franklin noticed something about the summer months. As the days became longer, many people were still asleep for hours after sunrise. Meanwhile, the sun was setting at night before most people were ready to go to bed. So what if we shifted the clock ahead by one hour so that the sun rose closer to wake up time ... and set closer to bedtime?
Not only would people be able to enjoy the maximum amount of natural sunlight, they wouldn't need to light as many candles and lamps at night. It was healthier and it would save money.
It took until 1915 before daylight saving was finally used, but in many parts of the world, the idea stuck.
Why do we fall back?
So if everyone loved daylight saving time, why did we change the clocks back in late fall and winter?
Because as the days got shorter, the mornings became really dark. It's hard enough for many to get up in the dead of winter when the sun rising as late as it does. But what if it happened a whole hour later than it already does? Most of us would be going to school and work in total darkness.
This worry is what kept people making the switch. Yes, they liked DST in the summer, but they didn't want to wake up to too much darkness during the long winter months.
Time to choose
In the end, this left people with a choice: keep switching clocks back and forth, or choose to use either DST or standard time and live with the issues. Many have already chosen the latter.
For example, Saskatchewan doesn't use DST at all. They stay on normal Central Standard Time all year round. U.S. states like Arizona and Hawaii also do not change their clocks at all. So choosing a single time keeping style all year is done.
The interesting thing about Ontario's decision? If it goes through, for the half the year it would be not one but two hours ahead of neighbour Manitoba. And meanwhile also have the same time as Nova Scotia. How's that for odd?