Time in Canada

Canada is divided into six time zones, based on proposals by Scottish Canadian railway engineer Sir Sandford Fleming, who pioneered the use of the 24-hour clock, the world's time zone system, and a standard prime meridian.[1] Most of Canada operates on standard time from the first Sunday in November to the second Sunday in March and daylight saving time the rest of the year.[2]

Official time

The National Research Council (NRC) maintains Canada's official time through the use of atomic clocks.[3] The NRC makes time servers available for direct synchronization with computers. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has aired a daily time signal, the National Research Council Time Signal, since November 5, 1939.[4]

Time notation

The Government of Canada recommends use of the 24-hour clock (e.g. 02:00), which is widely used in contexts such as transportation schedules, parking meters, and data transmission.[5] Speakers of Canadian French have fully adopted this system, but many users of Canadian English use the 12-hour clock in everyday speech (e.g. 2:00 a.m.), even when reading from a 24-hour display, similar to the use of the 24-hour clock in the United Kingdom.


Pacific Time Zone

Mountain Time Zone

Central Time Zone

Eastern Time Zone

Atlantic Time Zone

Newfoundland Time Zone

Former time zones

  • The Yukon Time Zone (UTC−09:00) covered Yukon until 1975. In 1983, the zone (then covering only a small portion of Alaska) was restructured to cover most of Alaska and renamed the Alaska Time Zone.
  • In 1988, Newfoundland used "double daylight saving time" from April 3 until October 30, meaning that the time was set ahead by 2 hours. All of Newfoundland and southern Labrador, which uses UTC−03:30 as its standard time zone, used UTC−01:30. This only happened in 1988 and the province now only adjusts its time by one hour for daylight saving time.

Daylight saving time

Four Canadian cities, by local ordinance, used Daylight Saving Time in 1916. Brandon, Manitoba on April 17 became the first place in the world to use it. It was followed by Winnipeg on April 23, Halifax on April 30, and Hamilton, Ontario on June 4.[8]

Daylight saving time is currently observed in all ten provinces and three territories but with several exceptions in several provinces and Nunavut, including most of Saskatchewan, which despite geographically being in the Mountain Time Zone observes year-round CST. Under the Constitution of Canada, laws related to timekeeping are a purely provincial matter. In practice, since the late 1960s DST across Canada has been closely or completely synchronized with its observance in the United States to promote consistent economic and social interaction. When the United States extended DST in 1987 to the first Sunday in April, all DST-observing Canadian provinces followed suit to mimic the change.

In 2019, the legislature of British Columbia began the process of eliminating the practice of observing daylight saving time in the province. On October 31, 2019, the government introduced Bill 40 in the legislature, which would define "Pacific Time" as "7 hours behind Coordinated Universal Time (UTC)".[9] In a press release, the provincial government stated an intention to maintain alignment of clock time with Washington, Oregon, California, and Yukon.[10] The move follows a consultation earlier in 2019, in which the province received over 223,000 responses, 93% of which said they would prefer year-round DST as compared to the status quo of changing the clocks twice a year.[11][12][13] The premier of British Columbia discussed the issue with Yukon premier Sandy Silver, who said in October that he needs more consultation with Yukon stakeholders, and with Alberta and Alaska.[14]

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,[15] Manitoba[16] – October 20, 2005
  • Quebec – December 5, 2005[17]
  • Prince Edward Island – December 6, 2005[18]
  • New Brunswick – December 23, 2005[19]
  • Alberta – February 2, 2006[20]
  • Northwest Territories – March 4, 2006[21]
  • British Columbia – March 31, 2006[22]
  • Nova Scotia – April 25, 2006[23]
  • Yukon – July 14, 2006[24]
  • Newfoundland and Labrador – November 20, 2006, but officially announced on January 18, 2007[25]
  • Nunavut – February 19, 2007[26]
  • Saskatchewan – no official action taken, as almost all of the province does not change their clocks to summer time (they remain on CST all year round). However, the few places in the province that do observe daylight saving (Lloydminster and the surrounding area, which straddles the Alberta border and observes Alberta's Mountain Time and Creighton, which observes daylight saving on an unofficial basis due to its proximity to the border with Manitoba) follow the aforementioned March–November schedule just like the rest of the country.

IANA time zone database

Data for Canada from zone.tab of the IANA time zone database. Columns marked with * are the columns from zone.tab itself.

c.c.* coordinates* TZ* comments* UTC offset UTC offset DST Notes
CA +4734-05243 America/St_Johns Newfoundland Time, including SE Labrador −03:30 −02:30
CA +4439-06336 America/Halifax Atlantic Time - Nova Scotia (most places), PEI −04:00 −03:00
CA +4612-05957 America/Glace_Bay Atlantic Time - Nova Scotia - places that did not observe DST 1966-1971 −04:00 −03:00
CA +4606-06447 America/Moncton Atlantic Time - New Brunswick −04:00 −03:00
CA +5320-06025 America/Goose_Bay Atlantic Time - Labrador - most locations −04:00 −03:00
CA +5125-05707 America/Blanc-Sablon Atlantic Standard Time - Quebec - Lower North Shore −04:00 −04:00
CA +4531-07334 America/Montreal Eastern Time - Quebec - most locations −05:00 −04:00
CA +4339-07923 America/Toronto Eastern Time - Ontario & Quebec - most locations −05:00 −04:00
CA +4901-08816 America/Nipigon Eastern Time - Ontario & Quebec - places that did not observe DST 1967-1973 −05:00 −04:00
CA +4823-08915 America/Thunder_Bay Eastern Time - Thunder Bay, Ontario −05:00 −04:00
CA +6344-06828 America/Iqaluit Eastern Time - east Nunavut - most locations −05:00 −04:00
CA +6608-06544 America/Pangnirtung Eastern Time - Pangnirtung, Nunavut −05:00 −04:00
CA +744144-0944945 America/Resolute Central Time - Resolute, Nunavut −06:00 −05:00
CA +484531-0913718 America/Atikokan Eastern Standard Time - Atikokan, Ontario and Southampton I, Nunavut −05:00 −05:00
CA +624900-0920459 America/Rankin_Inlet Central Time - central Nunavut −06:00 −05:00
CA +4953-09709 America/Winnipeg Central Time - Manitoba & west Ontario −06:00 −05:00
CA +4843-09434 America/Rainy_River Central Time - Rainy River & Fort Frances, Ontario −06:00 −05:00
CA +5024-10439 America/Regina Central Standard Time - Saskatchewan - most locations −06:00 −06:00
CA +5017-10750 America/Swift_Current Central Standard Time - Saskatchewan - midwest −06:00 −06:00
CA +5333-11328 America/Edmonton Mountain Time - Alberta, east British Columbia & west Saskatchewan −07:00 −06:00
CA +690650-1050310 America/Cambridge_Bay Mountain Time - west Nunavut −07:00 −06:00
CA +6227-11421 America/Yellowknife Mountain Time - central Northwest Territories −07:00 −06:00
CA +682059-1334300 America/Inuvik Mountain Time - west Northwest Territories −07:00 −06:00
CA +4906-11631 America/Creston Mountain Standard Time - Creston, British Columbia −07:00 −07:00
CA +5946-12014 America/Dawson_Creek Mountain Standard Time - Dawson Creek & Fort Saint John, British Columbia −07:00 −07:00
CA +4916-12307 America/Vancouver Pacific Time - west British Columbia −08:00 −07:00
CA +6043-13503 America/Whitehorse Pacific Time - south Yukon −08:00 −07:00
CA +6404-13925 America/Dawson Pacific Time - north Yukon −08:00 −07:00

See also


  1. A small section at La Biche River Airport in the southeast corner is shown as being on Mountain Standard Time.[2]
  2. Prairie Creek Airport, operated by Canadian Zinc, located in the southwest NT is shown as observing PST/PDT. North of Sixty Fishing Camps (Obre Lake/North of Sixty Airport) and Kasba Lake Lodge (Kasba Lake Airport) are shown as operating on CST/CDT[2]


  1. Creet, Mario (1990). "Sandford Fleming and Universal Time". Scientia Canadensis: Canadian Journal of the History of Science, Technology and Medicine. 14 (1–2): 66–89. doi:10.7202/800302ar.
  2. Canada Flight Supplement. Effective 0901Z 10 October 2019 to 0901Z 5 December 2019.
  3. "NRC time services". National Research Council. Retrieved 20 July 2018.
  4. Bartlett, Geoff (5 November 2014). "'The beginning of the long dash' indicates 75 years of official time on CBC". CBC News. Retrieved 20 July 2018.
  5. Collishaw, Barbara (2002). "FAQs on Writing the Time of Day". Terminology Update. 35 (3): 11.
  6. New Time Zone in Fort Nelson, timeanddate.com, September 21, 2015.
  7. Legal time in Québec Archived 2011-12-11 at the Wayback Machine, Ministry of Justice of Quebec, April 20, 2015.
  8. Doris Chase Doane, Time Changes in Canada and Mexico, 2nd edition, 1972
  9. "Bill 40 – 2019: Interpretation Amendment Act, 2019". Legislative Assembly of British Columbia. 2019. Retrieved 2019-11-03.
  10. "Interpretation amendment act sets stage for year-round daylight time" (PDF) (Press release). British Columbia Office of the Premier / Ministry of Attorney General. 2019-10-31. Retrieved 2019-11-03.
  11. Cheryl Chan (2019-09-11). "B.C. survey shows overwhelming support for permanent Daylight Saving Time". Vancouver Sun. Retrieved 2019-11-03.
  12. "Daylight Saving Time Public Consultation: Final Report" (PDF). 2019. Retrieved 2019-11-03.
  13. "B.C.'s daylight saving survey gets more public engagement than marijuana regulation". CBC News. 2019-07-05. Retrieved 2019-11-03.
  14. Gabrielle Plonka (2019-10-01). "B.C. premier meets with Silver, grand chief". Whitehorse Daily Star. Retrieved 2019-11-03.
  15. Time Act
  16. Province Introduces Legislation that Would Extend Daylight Saving Time in Manitoba (The Official Time Amendment Act,The Official Time Act)
  17. Bill n°2 : Legal Time Act
  18. An Act to Amend the Time Uniformity Act
  19. Changes to daylight saving time in New Brunswick in 2007 (05/12/23)
  20. Alberta sees the light with a timely announcement
  21. Daylight Saving Time Regulations Archived 2014-04-19 at the Wayback Machine
  22. New Daylight Saving Time Takes Effect in 2007
  23. Nova Scotia to Change Daylight Saving Time
  24. Yukon To Adopt Extended Daylight Saving Time Starting March 2007 Archived 2013-10-09 at the Wayback Machine
  25. An Act Respecting Standard Time and Daylight Time in the Province
  26. Nunavut News/North "Nunavut to follow new seasonal time standard"
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