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Your chance to help decide if the NWT keeps time changes


Fatigued by springing forward? Bored of falling back? Or happy to horologically hop an hour twice a year?

Whatever your preference, you can now tell the Northwest Territories government what you think. A survey about seasonal time change – aka moving to daylight savings and back – has opened.

NWT residents have the next six weeks to fill out the survey.

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Be warned: you may have to think while completing it. Changing the territory’s approach to time is not entirely straightforward.

If you like things how they are now, that’s easy enough. You can select that box and be done with it.

But if you’re seeking change, you’ll be confronted by maps that illustrate how your proposed alteration would affect the territory compared to the provinces and territories around it.

For example, assuming other jurisdictions’ approaches stay the same, moving the NWT to year-round daylight savings time would have the odd consequence of temporally marooning the Kitikmeot.

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Each winter, in that scenario, a time of 4pm in Whitehorse would be – heading east – 5pm in Yellowknife, 4pm again in Cambridge Bay, 5pm again in Rankin Inlet, and 6pm in Iqaluit.

Decisions you make shift relations with provinces to the south, too.

Sticking with daylight savings year-round? That means the NWT will be an hour ahead of Alberta in winter but line up again in summer. Sticking with standard time all year? It’ll be kind-of the reverse: an hour behind Alberta in summer, lining up again in winter.

You also have to consider what’s going to happen to the amount of daylight.

Let’s say you switch to permanent daylight savings time. That’s going to leave summers the same but sunrises and sunsets will occur an hour later than you’re used to in winter – what was 7am will now be 8am – meaning (even) darker mornings but lighter afternoons and evenings.

Keeping standard time year-round will leave winters the same but summer sunrises and sunsets will be an hour earlier than you’re used to (although the near-continual brightness of summer in much of the NWT may render that a tricky distinction to make in practice). Summer evenings will get darker a little earlier – what was 11pm will now be 10pm.

Both options are likely to have their detractors. Some people won’t like the idea of messing with summer evenings, even a little bit. Others might balk at darker winter mornings. But there are also plenty of people who don’t like the existing system of dodging those outcomes by flipping the clocks twice a year.

Beyond selecting a preferred option, the survey also asks what you care about related to time change. Do you care about what time of day the sunlight comes? What other regions are doing? Safety? Health and wellness? Energy use? Personal or professional reasons? All of those are options.

Lastly, the survey asks how much, if at all, you care about the NWT staying on the same time as Alberta.

The GNWT itself says there is “no clear or obvious answer” as to which time option is best. Click here to read a full briefing from the NWT government on the subject, if you want help deciding.

If, ultimately, a decision is made to change the way things currently work, the GNWT says a transition period of at least a year will be needed.

You have until the end of May 16, 2022 to complete the survey. The GNWT says it will present a report on the survey’s results by the fall of this year.

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