Ontario, Manitoba to extend DST

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TORONTO, Ont. – Ontarians and Manitobans will be adopting an extended daylight savings time in response to a U.S. law aimed at reducing energy usage.

The announcements put to rest concerns from the transportation industry that being out of sync with the U.S. could result in missed delivery times and scheduling problems.

Beginning in 2007, daylight savings time will start on the second Sunday in March, and end on the first Sunday in November in Ontario and Manitoba. Other provinces have yet to announce whether they’ll follow suit, but transportation industry officials are hoping they will.

“It is important to maintain Ontario’s competitive advantage by coordinating time changes with our major trading partner, and harmonizing our financial, industrial, transportation and communications links,” said Ontario Attorney General, Michael Bryant. “This is in the best interest of Ontario.”

When the U.S. first announced its intent to extend daylight savings time, there was some initial panic amongst transportation officials here at home. When the U.S. law was announced, Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) president David Bradley told the Prime Minister’s office that “The prevailing view of the trucking industry is that it would be better to be in sync with our largest trading partner and customer than to not be.”

He also expressed concerns that carriers offering cross-border shipments would encounter scheduling difficulties and confusion if Canada maintained the status quo while the U.S. went ahead with its plan.

In Ontario, an inter-ministerial committee, led by David Zimmer, Parliamentary Assistant to the Attorney General, looked into the advantages and disadvantages of changing daylight savings time. The committee reviewed public safety, energy, trade, and other issues, and consulted with stakeholders and other levels of government.

“We consulted 23 groups representing the agriculture, education, energy, financial, industry, and transportation sectors, and others,” said Zimmer. “The majority of stakeholders supported synchronizing daylight savings time with the U.S.”

Officials in Manitoba also explored the issue and came to the same conclusion as their Ontario counterparts.

“Stakeholders have raised concerns that by not synchronizing Manitoba’s clocks with those in the central time zone south of the border, difficulties would occur at border crossings,” said Intergovernmental Affairs and Trade Minister, Scott Smith.

The U.S. hopes to lessen household energy consumption in the evenings by up to 100,000 barrels of oil per day by extending DST.

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