Daylight saving time in Canada

Daylight saving time (DST) is observed in all ten Canadian provinces and three territories.[1] However, there are exceptions: most of Saskatchewan observes Central Standard Time year-round and most of the territory of Nunavut, with its three time zones, observes daylight saving time. Under the Canadian Constitution, laws related to timekeeping are a provincial or territorial matter.[2]

In regions where daylight saving time is used, it commences on the second Sunday of March, and standard time restarts on the first Sunday in November. Daylight saving time lasts for a total of 34 weeks (238 days) every year, about 65% of the entire year.


Port Arthur, Ontario, was the first municipality in the world to enact DST, on July 1, 1908.[3]

Five Canadian cities, by local ordinance, used daylight saving time before 1918: Brandon, Manitoba and Winnipeg, Manitoba (already in 1916)[4] as well as Halifax, Nova Scotia, Hamilton, Ontario, and Montreal, Quebec. St. John's, Newfoundland (now Newfoundland and Labrador), which did not become part of Canada until 1949, also used DST before 1918.[4]

In practice, since the late 1960s DST across Canada has been closely or completely synchronized with its observance in the United States to facilitate consistent economic and social interaction. When the United States extended DST in 1987 to the first Sunday in April, all DST-observing Canadian jurisdictions followed suit to mimic the change.

The latest United States change (Energy Policy Act of 2005), adding parts of March and November starting in 2007, was adopted by the various provinces and territories on the following dates:

  • Ontario, Manitoba – October 20, 2005
  • Quebec – December 5, 2005
  • Prince Edward Island – December 6, 2005
  • New Brunswick – December 23, 2005
  • Alberta – February 2, 2006
  • Northwest Territories – March 4, 2006
  • British Columbia – March 31, 2006
  • Nova Scotia – April 25, 2006
  • Yukon – July 14, 2006
  • Newfoundland and Labrador – November 20, 2006, but officially announced on January 18, 2007
  • Nunavut – February 19, 2007[5]
  • Saskatchewan – no official action taken, as most of the province does not change their clocks back in winter, but the small parts that have historically observed DST near Alberta and Manitoba are presumed to be authorized to have the start and end dates the same as Alberta and Manitoba.

By province or territory

British Columbia

Most of British Columbia (BC) is on Pacific Time and observes DST. However, there are two main exceptions:


The territory of Nunavut has three time zones: Mountain Time in the west, Central Time in the centre, and Eastern Time in the east. Daylight saving time is observed throughout Nunavut with the exception of Southampton Island, including Coral Harbour, and Eureka—a permanent research station on Ellesmere Island—both of which remain on Eastern Standard Time throughout the year.[7]


Most of Ontario uses DST. Pickle Lake, Atikokan and New Osnaburgh, three communities located within the Central Time Zone in northwestern Ontario, observe Eastern Standard Time all year long.


Most of Quebec observes DST. However, the eastern reaches of Quebec's North Shore, east of 63° west longitude, are in the Atlantic Time Zone, but do not observe DST (see exception, below). The effect is that in summer their clocks match those of the rest of the province, while in November, their clocks are rejoined by their Atlantic Standard Time neighbours. Although places east of 63° west are officially on Atlantic Time, local custom is to use Eastern Time as far east as the Natashquan River. Those communities observe DST, including all of Anticosti Island, which is bisected by the 63rd meridian.

The Magdalen Islands observe Atlantic Time including DST.


Although all of Saskatchewan is geographically within the Mountain Time Zone, the province is officially part of the Central Time Zone. As a result, while most of Saskatchewan does not change clocks spring and fall, it technically observes DST year round. This means that clocks in most of the province match clocks in Winnipeg during the winter and Calgary and Edmonton during the summer. This time zone designation was implemented in 1966, when the Saskatchewan Time Act was passed in order to standardize time province-wide.

The charter of the city of Lloydminster, which is bisected by the Saskatchewan–Alberta boundary, gives it a special exemption. Lloydminster and the immediately surrounding region in Saskatchewan observe Mountain Time year-round, with officially sanctioned seasonal daylight saving time (which in the summer, puts it in sync with the rest of Saskatchewan). This is to keep clocks on the Saskatchewan side in sync with those on the Alberta side; Alberta mandates the use of daylight saving time province-wide. Along the Manitoba border, the small, remote Saskatchewan towns of Denare Beach and Creighton unofficially observe Central Daylight Time during the summer, thereby keeping the same time as larger neighbouring Manitoba communities.

See also


  1. National Research Council
  2. Wiseman, Nelson (1994). "In Search of Manitoba's Constitutional Position, 1950–1990". Journal of Canadian Studies. 29 (3): 85–107. ISSN 0021-9495.
  3. "Time to change your clocks – but why?". Northern Ontario Travel. March 8, 2018. Retrieved October 9, 2018.
  4. Doris Chase Doane, Time Changes in Canada and Mexico, 2nd edition, Professional Astrologers, Inc., 1972 – 1975, p. 9, 23
  5. Nunavut News/North "Nunavut to follow new seasonal time standard" (unofficial, cached version) Archived March 29, 2016, at the Wayback Machine
  6. Reaburn, Adam (February 21, 2015). "Fort Nelson to change time one last time this March". Retrieved September 25, 2015.
  7. "Visitor Guide to Eureka" (PDF). Retrieved October 29, 2018.
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