Yellowknife may ‘start the discussion of daylight savings’ in NWT

Last modified: March 11, 2020 at 4:15am

After Yukon formally abandoned twice-yearly time changes, the City of Yellowknife could look to lobby for a similar change in the Northwest Territories.

On Monday, at the close of a lengthy day of discussions at City Hall, Councillor Stacie Smith briefly raised the issue of daylight savings with colleagues.

“Is there any way we can start the discussion of daylight savings?” she asked.


Yukon announced last week that its residents will no longer be changing their clocks after this past weekend. Time in Yukon will now run unchanged on Pacific Daylight Saving Time, year-round.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has since expressed personal support for his province making a similar move.

Reaction to Yukon’s switch suggests many in the NWT would be glad if their territory followed suit.

On Monday, Yellowknife city councillors appeared game for a future discussion of the subject – with the potential outcome of lobbying the territorial government for change.

“If council wanted to consider the issue and take a stand on this, and then if we expressed a position to the Government of the Northwest Territories – based on what council deems would be a good approach to take – this would definitely be something for council to weigh in on,” said Sheila Bassi-Kellett, the city administrator, responding to Smith.


“Great idea. It sounds like many councillors are very informed and very passionate about this.”

Yellowknife North MLA Rylund Johnson attended the council meeting to watch a separate debate, earlier in the evening, about his proposal to allow voting for permanent residents.

Mayor Rebecca Alty, on hearing Smith’s request, jokingly suggested: “Perhaps MLA Rylund Johnson would like to bring forward a private member’s bill and seek support from council.”

Johnson duly brought the topic to the legislature the next day.


“I believe it is time for the Northwest Territories to do this,” he told fellow MLAs on Tuesday. “Can we take the lead and get rid of time change?”

Minister of Justice Caroline Wawzonek, responding, said: “We are keeping tabs of what’s happening. We’re aware of the progress that seems to be taking place in a lot of other jurisdictions, moving away from time changing.

“I’m not going to stand here today and say that we will take the lead, but I can say the department is right now quite active on this. If there’s an opportunity to take the lead, then, we would look at that, but at the moment, we’re going to continue to engage and see what is happening with our partners immediately to the south, as well as in other jurisdictions in Canada.”