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Yukon Time Petition, 2023

Dateline: April 26, 2023
Yukon Time petition, 2023

Time Zone Petition Explanation

    These past 2 winters since our recent time change, have you noticed daylight arriving much later than years past? Here is the history of why this occurs:

    In the early 1970s the Yukon Government chose to align with BC's time zone, Pacific Standard Time, eliminating "Yukon Time" (a natural solar time for the Yukon's latitude).

    As you can see from the map below, the Yukon is farther west than most of BC, therefore with this change in 1973, the clocks read 1 HOUR LATER than natural solar time, on (BC's) PERMANENT PACIFIC STANDARD TIME.

    In 2021, after a public survey, the Yukon changed to (BC's) PERMANENT PACIFIC DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME. The clock now reads 2 HOURS LATER than natural solar time.

    During the darker months presently (by the clock) it takes 2 hours longer for us to get daylight in the morning, and all year, 2 hours later for the day to warm up in the afternoons. More people find it difficult to get to sleep because solar time is aligned with our natural circadian rhythms and the current system is not. Science indicates this may negatively affect mental health.

    The survey two years ago, gave us the opportunity to decide on; (BC's) Permanent Pacific Standard Time, (BC's) Permanent Pacific Daylight Savings Time, or both with a time change twice a year. Yukon Standard Time wasn't even an option.

    The survey was flawed in two ways:

  1. understanding the questions required a great deal of thought in order to figure out exactly what we were choosing;
  2. it was possible to fill out the survey multiple times if one chose to.

    In March and April 2023 a petition was circulated asking the Yukon Government for an opportunity to participate in a new clearly worded survey allowing no more than one response per person.

    This petition was submitted on April 4th, and on April 5 was read in the Legislature.

Yukon Time map, 2023

Yukon Time - Response

From Yukon Legislative Assembly - Blues
Thursday, April 20, 2023 - 1:00 p.m.

Petition No. 18 - response

    Hon. Mr. Pillai: I rise today to respond to Petition No. 18, which was presented to this House on April 5, 2023. I will also respond, momentarily, to Petition No. 19 on this same topic.

    From January 6 to February 16, 2020, we asked Yukoners to share their thoughts on how we should observe time in the territory through a public engagement. Our engagement was prompted by conversations that other jurisdictions in Pacific North America were having with their citizens. It was important that the Government of Yukon hear the public's views on this issue.

    We ran an online public engagement survey of Yukon residents, businesses, and non-profit organizations. We also invited a wide variety of Yukon associations, governments and organizations to share their thoughts with us in the survey or by letter.

    The public engagement was supported by extensive and accessible background information in order to ensure that Yukoners had the opportunity to understand the implications of the time-zone options. The 4,685 Yukoners and 144 businesses and non-profit organizations that participated in the engagement were clear: Yukon should stop seasonal time changes; 93 percent of the respondents supported ending the practices. Of those who wanted to end seasonal time change, 70 percent indicated their desire to remain on daylight saving time, 25 percent of respondents preferred Pacific standard time, and five percent did not have a preference for which time to adopt.

    In addition to the survey, we received 38 written submissions representing the views of 143 Yukon individuals, associations, governments, businesses, and organizations. Of the written submissions, 92percent stated that the Yukon should end seasonal time change and 59 percent supported permanent daylight saving time. We heard Yukoners loud and clear on this topic. They wanted seasonal time change to end and there was support to remain on daylight saving time year- round. We took this feedback seriously and factored it into our decision-making on this matter. Our government changed the regulation regarding the territory's time zone in October 2020, thus bringing into law the Yukon's new standard time. The advantage of this time zone is that Yukoners have more daylight in the early evenings during the winter — more time to enjoy outdoor activities after work and school — and to catch some sun before evening arrives.

    For the majority of the year, March to November, we are on the same time zone as we have been for decades. The survey used in this engagement did allow multiple responses from the same IP. This is standard practice to allow multiple members of a household and others who share an IP address to do the same survey. This is also an important measure to ensure accessibility for those who may not have their own home Internet access. Again, the Yukon Bureau of Statistics follows a process to review responses and IP addresses to ensure that results are not influenced by duplicates or by multiple identical responses.

    Online surveys are popular and accessible for most Yukoners and are cost-effective for the Yukon. The objective of the online engagement is to collect feedback from Yukoners who want to provide input, not to conduct a scientific survey using samples of the Yukon public. The Yukon Bureau of Statistics is an important internal resource to government and we use their expertise to create surveys and questionnaires that are methodically sound.

    Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I will move on to a response to Petition No. 19.

Petition No. 19 - response

    Hon. Mr. Pillai: I rise today to respond to Petition No. 19, which was presented to the House on April 5, 2023. This will complement what I spoke to in Petition No. 18. In early 2020, the Government of Yukon asked Yukoners to share their input on how we should observe time in the territory. The result of this public engagement helped to inform Yukon government's path forward on essential time changes.

    Over 4,000 Yukoners and many businesses and non-profit organizations participated in the engagement. We heard Yukoners loud and clear on this topic. They wanted seasonal time change to end and there was support to remain on daylight saving time year-round. We considered this input when we made the decision on whether to change how the Yukon observes time, along with the scientific research. The Yukon Bureau of Statistics managed this public engagement survey, which was open to all Yukoners interested in participating. Online public engagement surveys are efficient, accessible, and cost-effective for government. The goal of the online public engagement is to collect feedback from those who want to provide input and participate rather than conduct the scientific survey using samples of the Yukon public. We always strive to improve our engagement techniques and we are exploring new ways to provide engagement opportunities to Yukoners.

    As I mentioned in my response to Petition No. 18, we continue to stay abreast of what other jurisdictions are doing on the same issue. We are monitoring their decisions as we go forward.

    What I will share with the House is - what I am speaking about is that we have a number of jurisdictions throughout Canada and the US that are looking toward what changes there will be. So, for example, the US House passed the Sunshine Protection Act of 2021. That states that we, again, will be able to choose to stay on year-round daylight saving time - is what they are looking at. British Columbia has already passed its own legislation and is waiting on Washington, Oregon, and California's commitments to do the same. Ontario is waiting for similar action from Québec and New York. Manitoba has also committed to staying on daylight saving time once the US makes its change.

    We were committed, Mr. Speaker, from the start to listen to Yukoners. I know the Official Opposition had strong views on this, as did others in the House. We went out; we listened to Yukoners; they picked a choice. This is the people's House; we went down that road but we are open to hearing again. So, our commitment is to let's see what happens within the United States and on the west coast. That could affect our ability to ensure that we are aligned when it comes to flights and when it comes to commerce. We are open to that discussion with Yukoners, even to the point where, if we see substantial change throughout North America, it might be prudent to go back and have another survey.

    We're not closing the door on doing it because part of our job in the House is to continuously take feedback from Yukoners, but what I will say is that I think it would be best for us to see what changes are made across North America first, and if those changes seem to be in conflict with what we did, then we probably would have to go out and have a conversation. If they are completely aligned with the decisions that we have made as a leader on this decision, then we will contemplate that.

    Again, thank you to the people who brought forward their thoughts. We have heard them and will take action after we see what happens with the other jurisdictions.