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Canada  

Don't forget to fall back

Daylight saving time ends on Sunday in most parts of the country, with many Canadians dreading the darkness that will come earlier every night until the solstice on Dec. 21.

As usual, most people will turn their clocks back an hour on or before Sunday at 2 a.m. with little complaint. But there are rumblings across the continent that people are growing weary of moving their timepieces ahead one hour in the spring — losing an hour of sleep — and then turning them back in the fall.

"Most people dislike having to change their clocks and lose an hour of sleep," said David Prerau, author of "Seize the Daylight: The Curious and Contentious Story of Daylight Saving Time" and one of the world's leading experts on the subject.

"It's a pain. They think it's easier just to get rid of it."

As a result, the daylight-optimizing system, largely standardized across North America in the 1960s, is facing a new wave of challenges.

In Alberta, proposed legislation that would have ended the practice won overwhelming support in August when the public was asked to weigh in on the idea. Of the 13,000 submissions received, 75 per cent were in favour of scrapping the system.

However, the Alberta legislature shot down the idea this week after an all-party committee said the impact on business would be too onerous.

Still, those opposed to the system can always point to Saskatchewan, which rejected daylight saving when the idea took hold more than 50 years ago. Arizona is also an DST abstainer. Indiana held out until 2006.

Meanwhile, opposition to daylight time, which extends from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November, has been gaining ground among the six New England states, which could have repercussions for the Maritimes and Newfoundland and Labrador.

In September, a special commission in Massachusetts recommended the state — now in the eastern time zone — should extend daylight saving year-round, but only if the other states in the region follow suit. Some of the other states have already tabled bills to make the change, though it could take years to accomplish.

The main goal, according to proponents, would be to add an extra hour of afternoon daylight in the winter. Such a change could increase productivity and curb on-the-job injuries and traffic fatalities, according to one Massachusetts study.



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