For the second time in two years, the province of Alberta is looking for input on the practice of switching our clocks twice a year – and the issue has St. Albert residents split.
Last week, the province announced it would be seeking public input through a survey to see what residents think about Daylight Saving Time.
The decision comes just two years after the previous NDP government decided not to scrap Daylight Saving Time.
“We know people have strong opinions about changing their clocks twice a year and we want to hear them,” Service Alberta Minister Nate Glubish said in a statement.
“As more Canadian provinces and territories, and some American states, are having discussions about this, it’s important that we hear from Albertans.”
In the St. Albert area, residents who communicated with the Gazette are passionate but polarized on the issue of switching their clocks twice a year.
During the last round of provincial consultations, Morinville resident Alan Otway spoke before the standing committee that was exploring the topic to support Daylight Saving Time.
“At the time, I opposed (its elimination) based on the dangers of school kids being dropped off at school in the dark. One only needs to watch traffic any schoolday ... 30 minutes before until the bell to see the potential,” Otway said.
Collette Smith said for people with a mood disorder, the change in clocks have a big impact.
“I would love to stay at just one time all year round. I have a mood disorder, anxiety and PTSD, and all three can go out of control when the clocks change, especially in the spring when I lose the hour of sleep," Smith said.
She added she tries to compensate by taking her medication at the "old" time (one hour earlier or later than the clocks show) for the first few nights, but she still struggles with the change.
“Most psychiatrists will tell their patients that proper sleep care is an essential part of self management of mental illness, together with things like exercise, positive activities and more, plus the medical aspect of dealing with the illness. Many of my friends with mental illness also struggle when the time changes, even more than my unaffected friends, who sometimes feel tired or 'off' for the first while after the time switches,” Smith added.
More than 100 other St. Albertans responded to the Gazette to weigh in on the issue. While many said it has no impact on their lives at all, some said it causes major disruption.
Construction workers said they need the time change to maximize their working hours all year round.
Some parents chimed in and said it causes major disruptions to their children’s sleep schedules and it takes weeks to get them back on track. Other parents said their kids adjust quickly and it has no impact on their lives.
Nurse Tracey Danks wondered how much the change impacts the overtime and cost to the province to pay nurses an extra hour when the clocks change twice a year.
Other residents don’t care what the province decides to do with Daylight Saving Time but want the debate to stop so they don’t have to listen to it anymore.
During the recent NDP public consultation, the former government got pushback against removing the twice-annual time change from airlines, the NHL and big businesses, who all said they wanted to keep the system.