Does Canada Observe Daylight Savings Time?

Most parts of Canada turn back their clocks one hour in the fall, known as "fall back".
Most parts of Canada turn back their clocks one hour in the fall, known as "fall back".

Daylight savings time (DST), also called daylight saving time or British Summer Time (BST) in the United Kingdom, is the practice of advancing clocks in summer to extend the evening daylight while sacrificing typical sunrise times. Areas which use DST adjust their clocks forward by one hour in the spring and then backwards by one hour (returning to standard time) in autumn. DST is generally observed by all of Canada's ten provinces and three territories. However, certain parts within a province or territory have chosen not to observe daylight savings time, including parts of Nunavut and Saskatchewan.

How Does Daylight Savings Time Work?

When DST begins in the early spring, clocks are adjusted forward by one hour. During summer, the countries which observe DST lose an hour of daylight during the morning but gain an hour of daylight in the evening. The switch occurs on the night of the second Sunday of March, and one hour of sleep is lost that day.

In autumn, when the summer period ends, clocks are adjusted back to the standard time, which means the gain of one hour. Therefore, the transitional day is 25 hours long. In Canada, clocks are moved forward to standard time on the first Sunday of November.

History of DST in Canada

Five Canadian cities observed DST prior to 1918: Montreal, Hamilton, Halifax, Winnipeg, and Brandon. The province of Newfoundland, which became part of Canada in 1949, also observed DST before 1918. Since the 1960s, Canada synchronized its DST practices with the United States in order to help facilitate consistent social and economic interaction. When the United States extended its DST to the first Sunday of April, all Canadian cities that observe DST followed suit. The most recent change introduced by the United States included the addition of November and March in 2007, and this was adopted by numerous Canadian cities.

Parts of Canada That Do Not Observe DST

Certain parts of British Columbia, Nunavut, Ontario, Quebec, and Saskatchewan do not observe daylight savings time. Examples of these exceptions are described below.

British Columbia

Most parts of British Columbia observe DST. However, while the province observes Pacific Time, parts of East Kootenay and the Peace River Regional District are on Mountain Standard Time (MST) and do not follow DST. Creston is a notable example within East Kootenay. Some areas in the Peace River Regional District such as Dawson Creek, Taylor, Chetwynd, Tumbler Ridge, and Fort St. John are on Mountain Time and do not observe DST. The people of Fort Nelson voted in 2015 to use Mountain Time all year long.


Eastern parts of the North Shore in Quebec are on Atlantic Standard Time (AST) and do not observe DST. In the summer, clocks in these parts of Quebec match the rest of the province, while in November their clocks return to AST.


Geographically, Saskatchewan is located within the MST zone, but the province is officially part of the Central Time Zone (CT). As a result, most parts of the province do not change their clocks forward or back in the spring and fall. The clocks in Saskatchewan match with the time in Edmonton and Calgary in the summer and match the clocks in Winnipeg during the winter. The province formally designated its time zone in 1966 through the passing of the Saskatchewan Time Act, which standardized time within the province.


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