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British Columbia B.C. survey shows overwhelming support for permanent daylight time

B.C. Premier John Horgan in Vancouver on July 4, 2019.

DARRYL DYCK/The Canadian Press

More than 93 per cent of respondents to a recent B.C. government survey didn’t want to turn back their clocks in the fall.

The Premier’s office says 223,273 people responded to the survey and a strong majority of them supported moving permanently to daylight time.

With the exception of students, support for year-round daylight time was higher than 90 per cent in all regions of British Columbia and across all industry and occupational groups.

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But 54 per cent of those surveyed also said it was “important” or “very important” that the province’s clocks align with neighbouring jurisdictions.

In a statement, the Premier’s office says officials in Washington, Oregon and California are in various stages of writing or enacting legislation to adopt year-round daylight time, but those states require federal approval before they can act.

As B.C. determines its next steps, Premier John Horgan says the survey results will be considered alongside responses from other provinces and the western states.

“This engagement has done exactly as we hoped it would in providing clarity about a preferred direction,” Mr. Horgan said in the statement on Tuesday.

“The insights generated will be relied upon as we make a final decision about how to move forward.”

The online survey was conducted internally by the government with the aim of getting a wide sample of feedback. The consultation period was from June 24 to July 19.

In addition to the completed online surveys, the government received 279 e-mail submissions from private citizens and 15 written submissions from organizations and experts.

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The survey says 75 per cent of respondents identified health and wellness concerns as their reason for wanting to scrap the time change, but the same health reasons were cited by the minority who favoured falling back and springing forward.

Fifty-three per cent of those who supported year-round daylight time mentioned the benefit of additional daylight during the evening commute in winter, while 39 per cent said other safety concerns were behind their support.

The government acknowledges that there are some limitations with the online survey, primarily that respondents were required to be users of the internet. As a result, the government allowed non-internet users to phone ServiceBC or mail in their opinions using a downloaded feedback form.

The voluntary nature of the survey also means there could be a self-selection bias that sees those who hold strong views being more likely to respond, the government says, adding that the anonymous nature of the poll means it is impossible to assess how that might have affected the results.

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