Time in Canada
The lead section of this article may need to be rewritten. (June 2021)
Time in Canada, by regional law, is divided into six standard time zones covering the country's provinces and territories. Most regions operate on standard time from the first Sunday in November to the second Sunday in March and daylight saving time the rest of the year.
The division between time zones are based on proposals by Scottish Canadian railway engineer Sandford Fleming, who pioneered the use of the 24-hour clock, the world's time zone system, and a standard prime meridian.
The National Research Council (NRC) maintains Canada's official time through the use of atomic clocks. The official time is specified in legislation passed by the individual provinces. In Quebec it is based on coordinated universal time. The other provinces use mean solar time. The NRC provides both coordinated universal time and mean solar time in its signals. It makes time servers available for direct synchronization with computers. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has aired a daily time signal, the National Research Council Time Signal, since November 5, 1939.
The Government of Canada recommends use of the 24-hour clock (e.g. 15:23), which is widely used in contexts such as transportation schedules, parking meters, and data transmission. Speakers of Canadian French predominantly use this system, but most Canadian English speakers use the 12-hour clock in everyday speech (e.g. 3:23 p.m.), even when reading from a 24-hour display, similar to the use of the 24-hour clock in the United Kingdom.
Pacific Time Zone
Pacific Standard Time (PST) GMT−08:00 and Pacific Daylight Time (PDT) GMT−07:00:
- British Columbia (most of the province)
Mountain Time Zone
Mountain Standard Time (MST) GMT−07:00 and Mountain Daylight Time (MDT) GMT−06:00:
- British Columbia, southeastern
- Columbia-Shuswap Regional District east of the Selkirk Mountains
- Regional District of East Kootenay
- Regional District of Central Kootenay east of the Kootenay River and some parts east of Kootenay Lake that are south of and including Riondel (but not Creston, which observes MST year-round, and Kootenay Bay)
- Northwest Territories, except for Tungsten (see above), two fishing lodges in the southeast and a mine site in the southwest[note 1]
- Nunavut ( )
- Saskatchewan ( )
- Lloydminster and surrounding area (the municipal government chose to unify the entire city with Alberta's time zone)
Mountain Standard Time (MST) GMT−07:00 year-round:
- British Columbia, northeastern
- British Columbia, southeastern
Central Time Zone
Central Standard Time (CST) GMT−06:00 and Central Daylight Time CDT GMT−05:00:
- Creighton (unofficial)
- Ontario, northwestern
Central Standard Time (CST) GMT−06:00 year-round:
- Saskatchewan (most of the province) (see Lloydminster, and Creighton, above)
Eastern Time Zone
Eastern Standard Time (EST) GMT−05:00 and Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) GMT−04:00:
- east of 85° West, and
- all communities in the Qikiqtaaluk Region except Resolute
- Quebec (most of province)
Eastern Standard Time (EST) GMT−05:00 year-round:
Atlantic Time Zone
Atlantic Standard Time (AST) GMT−04:00 and Atlantic Daylight Time (ADT) GMT−03:00:
- Labrador (all but the southeastern tip)
- New Brunswick
- Nova Scotia
- Prince Edward Island
- Quebec (Magdalen Islands and Listuguj Mi'gmaq First Nation)
Atlantic Standard Time (AST) UTC−04:00 year-round:
- Quebec (east of the Natashquan River)
Newfoundland Time Zone
Newfoundland Standard Time (NST) GMT−03:30 and Newfoundland Daylight Time (NDT) GMT−02:30:
- Labrador (southeastern)
Former time zones
- The Yukon Time Zone (GMT−09:00) covered Yukon from 1900 until 1966. In 1983, the zone (then covering only a small portion of Alaska) was restructured to cover most of Alaska and renamed the Alaska Time Zone.
- In 1988, Newfoundland observed "double daylight saving time" from April 3 until October 30, meaning that the time was set ahead by 2 hours. All of Newfoundland and southern Labrador, which observes GMT−03:30 as its standard time zone, observed GMT−01:30. This only happened in 1988 and the province now only adjusts its time by one hour for daylight saving time.
Daylight saving time
Four Canadian cities, by local ordinance, observed daylight saving time in 1916. Brandon, Manitoba, adopted it on April 17. It was followed by Winnipeg on April 23, Halifax on April 30, and Hamilton, Ontario, on June 4. Port Arthur, Ontario, was the first place in the world to introduce it, on July 1, 1908.
Daylight saving time is currently observed in nine of ten provinces and two of three territories, but with exceptions in several provinces and Nunavut. Most of the province of Saskatchewan, despite geographically being in the Mountain Time Zone, observes year-round CST. In 2020, the territory of Yukon abandoned seasonal time change and moved to permanently observing MST year-round. Under the Constitution of Canada, laws related to timekeeping are a purely provincial matter. In practice, since the late 1960s DST across Canada has been closely or completely synchronized with its observance in the United States to promote consistent economic and social interaction. When the United States extended DST in 1987 to the first Sunday in April, all DST-observing Canadian provinces followed suit to mimic the change.
In 2019, the legislature of British Columbia began the process of eliminating the practice of observing daylight saving time in the province. On October 31, 2019, the government introduced Bill 40 in the legislature, which would define "Pacific Time" as "7 hours behind Coordinated Universal Time (UTC)". In a press release, the provincial government stated an intention to maintain alignment of clock time with Washington, Oregon, California, and Yukon. The move follows a consultation earlier in 2019, in which the province received over 223,000 responses, 93% of which said they would prefer year-round DST as compared to the status quo of changing the clocks twice a year. The premier of British Columbia discussed the issue with Yukon premier Sandy Silver, who said in October that he needs more consultation with Yukon stakeholders, and with Alberta and Alaska.
The latest United States change (Energy Policy Act of 2005) to daylight saving time, adding parts of March and November to when daylight saving time is observed, which began in 2007 was adopted by the various provinces and territories on the following dates:
- Ontario and Manitoba – October 20, 2005
- Quebec – December 5, 2005
- Prince Edward Island – December 6, 2005
- New Brunswick – December 23, 2005
- Alberta – February 2, 2006
- Northwest Territories – March 4, 2006
- British Columbia – March 31, 2006
- Nova Scotia – April 25, 2006
- Yukon – July 14, 2006. Year-round MST as of March 8, 2020.
- Newfoundland and Labrador – November 20, 2006, but officially announced on January 18, 2007
- Nunavut – February 19, 2007
- Saskatchewan – No official action was taken, as almost all of the province remains on CST year-round. However, the few places in the province that do observe daylight saving (Lloydminster and the surrounding area, which straddles the Alberta border and observes Alberta's Mountain Time – and Creighton, which observes daylight saving on an unofficial basis due to its proximity to the border with Manitoba) follow the aforementioned March–November schedule just like the other provinces and territories.
IANA time zone database
|C.c.*||Coordinates*||TZ*||Comments*||UTC offset||UTC offset DST||Notes|
|CA||+4734−05243||America/St_Johns||Newfoundland; Labrador (southeast)||−03:30||−02:30|
|CA||+4439−06336||America/Halifax||Atlantic - NS (most areas); PE||−04:00||−03:00||Plus Magdalen Islands and Listuguj Miꞌgmaq First Nation in Quebec.|
|CA||+4612−05957||America/Glace_Bay||Atlantic - NS (Cape Breton)||−04:00||−03:00||Likely includes all of Cape Breton Island.|
|CA||+4606−06447||America/Moncton||Atlantic - New Brunswick||−04:00||−03:00||Like America/Halifax, except DST time change happened at 12:01 a.m. rather than 2:00 a.m. prior to 2007.|
|CA||+5320−06025||America/Goose_Bay||Atlantic - Labrador (most areas)||−04:00||−03:00||Like America/Halifax, except DST time change happened at 12:01 a.m. rather than 2:00 a.m. from 1987–2011. (Also observed Newfoundland Time until 1966.)|
|CA||+5125−05707||America/Blanc-Sablon||AST - QC (Lower North Shore)||−04:00||−04:00||East of 63rd meridian west.|
|CA||America/Montreal||−05:00||−04:00||Redirects to America/Toronto as of version 2015c.|
|CA||+4339−07923||America/Toronto||Eastern - ON, QC (most areas), Bahamas||−05:00||−04:00||Legally includes all of Ontario east of 90th meridian west, but in practice only applied to urban areas until 1974.|
|CA||America/Nipigon||−05:00||−04:00||Redirects to America/Toronto as of version 2022f.|
|CA||America/Thunder_Bay||−05:00||−04:00||Redirects to America/Toronto as of version 2022f.|
|CA||+6344−06828||America/Iqaluit||Eastern - NU (most areas)||−05:00||−04:00|
|CA||America/Pangnirtung||−05:00||−04:00||Places that switched from Atlantic Time to Eastern Time in 1995.|
|CA||+744144−0944945||America/Resolute||Central - NU (Resolute)||−06:00||−05:00||Places in Central Time that skipped DST in 2007.|
|CA||+484531−0913718||America/Atikokan||EST - ON (Atikokan); NU (Coral H)||−05:00||−05:00||Legally Central Time, but in practice observes EST year-round.|
|CA||+624900−0920459||America/Rankin_Inlet||Central - NU (central)||−06:00||−05:00|
|CA||+4953−09709||America/Winnipeg||Central - ON (west); Manitoba||−06:00||−05:00||In practice includes Big Trout Lake and Denare Beach, though by law they should be in America/Toronto and America/Regina, respectively.|
|CA||America/Rainy_River||−06:00||−05:00||Redirects to America/Winnipeg as of version 2022f.|
|CA||+5024−10439||America/Regina||CST - SK (most areas)||−06:00||−06:00|
|CA||+5017−10750||America/Swift_Current||CST - SK (midwest)||−06:00||−06:00||Western Saskatchewan towns that observed Mountain Time until 1972.|
|CA||+5333−11328||America/Edmonton||Mountain - AB; BC (E); SK (W)||−07:00||−06:00|
|CA||+690650−1050310||America/Cambridge_Bay||Mountain - NU (west)||−07:00||−06:00|
|CA||+6227−11421||America/Yellowknife||Mountain - NT (central)||−07:00||−06:00||East of 120th meridian west.|
|CA||+682059−1334300||America/Inuvik||Mountain - NT (west)||−07:00||−06:00||West of 120th meridian west.|
|CA||+4906−11631||America/Creston||MST - BC (Creston)||−07:00||−07:00||Places in Pacific Time that have not observed DST since the database cut-off date (1970).|
|CA||+5546−12014||America/Dawson_Creek||MST - BC (Dawson Cr, Ft St John)||−07:00||−07:00||Places in Pacific Time that stopped using DST in 1973.|
|CA||+5848−12242||America/Fort_Nelson||MST - BC (Ft Nelson)||−07:00||−07:00|
|CA||+4916−12307||America/Vancouver||Pacific - BC (most areas)||−08:00||−07:00|
|CA||+6043−13503||America/Whitehorse||MST - Yukon (east)||−07:00||−07:00||East of 138th meridian west.|
|CA||+6404−13925||America/Dawson||MST - Yukon (west)||−07:00||−07:00||West of 138th meridian west.|
- Lists of time zones
- Newfoundland's Daylight Saving Act of 1917
- 1972 British Columbia time plebiscite
- Effects of time zones on North American broadcasting
- National Research Council Time Signal
- Date and time notation in Canada
- Canada Flight Supplement. Effective 0901Z 16 July 2020 to 0901Z 10 September 2020.
- Creet, Mario (1990). "Sandford Fleming and Universal Time". Scientia Canadensis: Canadian Journal of the History of Science, Technology and Medicine. 14 (1–2): 66–89. doi:10.7202/800302ar.
- "NRC time services". National Research Council. Archived from the original on 20 July 2018. Retrieved 20 July 2018.
- National Assembly (1 January 2007). "Legal Time Act 2006". Retrieved 21 September 2020.
- Minister of Justice (26 February 2015). "Interpretation Act R.S.C., 1985" (PDF). Retrieved 21 September 2020. This Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. I-21, section 35(1) refers to 'standard time' for the several provinces, defining each in relation to 'Greenwich time', but does not use the expression 'Greenwich mean time'.
- Alberta Queen's Printer (1 January 2007). "Daylight Saving Time Act, RSA 2000". Retrieved 21 September 2020.
- Queen's Printer (5 April 2016). "Interpretation Act, RSBC 1996". Retrieved 21 September 2020.
- Manitoba (1 February 1988). "The Official Time Act". Retrieved 21 September 2020.
- Queen's Printer for New Brunswick (1 September 2011). "Time Definition Act 2011" (PDF). Retrieved 21 September 2020.
- Queen's Printer, St John's (2012). "Standard Time Act RSNL 1990". Retrieved 21 September 2020. By §2(1) "Time in the province shall be reckoned as 3 1/2 hours later [sic] than Greenwich mean solar time."
- Office of the Legislative Counsel (22 September 1998). "Time Definition Act". Retrieved 21 September 2020.
- Queen's Printer for Ontario (31 December 1990). "Time Act, R.S.O. 1990". Retrieved 21 September 2020.
- Legislative Counsel Office (2 December 2015). "Interpretation Act 1988" (PDF). Retrieved 21 September 2020.
- The Queen's Printer (26 February 1978). "The Time Act 1978" (PDF). Retrieved 21 September 2020.
- National Research Council (28 July 2020). "DUT1 announcement". Retrieved 21 September 2020.
- Bartlett, Geoff (5 November 2014). "'The beginning of the long dash' indicates 75 years of official time on CBC". CBC News. Archived from the original on 5 November 2019. Retrieved 20 July 2018.
- Collishaw, Barbara (2002). "FAQs on Writing the Time of Day". Terminology Update. 35 (3): 11. Archived from the original on 2018-07-14. Retrieved 2018-07-20.
- Buckle, Anne (21 September 2015). "New Time Zone in Fort Nelson". Time and Date. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 21 September 2020.
- Legal time in Québec Archived 2011-12-11 at the Wayback Machine, Ministry of Justice of Quebec, April 20, 2015.
- Benesh, Peter (1988-06-21). "Daylight Almost Until Midnight: Newfoundland Tries out Double Daylight-Saving Time". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 2020-02-02.
- Order re: Newfoundland Double Daylight Savings Time, 1988. O.C. 1404/87. Newfoundland Gazette, 1988-02-19, page 67.
- Doris Chase Doane, Time Changes in Canada and Mexico, 2nd edition, 1972.
- Government of Yukon (March 4, 2020). "Yukon to end seasonal time change". Retrieved September 23, 2020.
- "Bill 40 – 2019: Interpretation Amendment Act, 2019". Legislative Assembly of British Columbia. 2019. Archived from the original on 2019-11-03. Retrieved 2019-11-03.
- "Interpretation amendment act sets stage for year-round daylight time" (PDF) (Press release). British Columbia Office of the Premier / Ministry of Attorney General. 2019-10-31. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2019-11-03. Retrieved 2019-11-03.
- Chan, Cheryl (2019-09-11). "B.C. survey shows overwhelming support for permanent Daylight Saving Time". Vancouver Sun. Archived from the original on 2019-11-03. Retrieved 2019-11-03.
- "Daylight Saving Time Public Consultation: Final Report" (PDF). 2019. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2019-09-11. Retrieved 2019-11-03.
- "B.C.'s daylight saving survey gets more public engagement than marijuana regulation". CBC News. 2019-07-05. Archived from the original on 2019-07-07. Retrieved 2019-11-03.
- Plonka, Gabrielle (2019-10-01). "B.C. premier meets with Silver, grand chief". Whitehorse Daily Star. Archived from the original on 2019-11-02. Retrieved 2019-11-03.
- "Time Act". Archived from the original on 2013-12-02. Retrieved 2013-11-25.
- Province Introduces Legislation that Would Extend Daylight Saving Time in Manitoba Archived 2016-07-23 at the Wayback Machine (The Official Time Amendment Act Archived 2006-05-28 at the Wayback Machine,The Official Time Act Archived 2005-11-09 at the Wayback Machine)
- "Bill n°2 : Legal Time Act". Archived from the original on 2012-11-20. Retrieved 2012-02-14.
- "An Act to Amend the Time Uniformity Act" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2006-08-23. Retrieved 2006-07-27.
- "Changes to daylight saving time in New Brunswick in 2007 (05/12/23)". Archived from the original on 2006-09-01. Retrieved 2006-05-18.
- Alberta sees the light with a timely announcement
- Daylight Saving Time Regulations Archived 2014-04-19 at the Wayback Machine
- "New Daylight Saving Time Takes Effect in 2007". Archived from the original on 2013-04-11. Retrieved 2006-05-18.
- "Nova Scotia to Change Daylight Saving Time". Archived from the original on 2017-09-23. Retrieved 2017-09-16.
- Yukon To Adopt Extended Daylight Saving Time Starting March 2007 Archived 2013-10-09 at the Wayback Machine
- "An Act Respecting Standard Time and Daylight Time in the Province". Archived from the original on 2012-10-20. Retrieved 2013-11-25.
- "Nunavut News/North "Nunavut to follow new seasonal time standard"". Archived from the original on 2013-12-02. Retrieved 2013-11-25.
- Legal Time Act, CQLR c T-5.1, s 2.
- Internet Assigned Numbers Authority. "tzdb data for North and Central America and environs". Retrieved 21 September 2020.
- Interpretation Act, SC 1967–68, c 7, s 28, "standard time".
- Interpretation Ordinance, YCO 1967/59.
- It's about TIME
- Saskatchewan time system
- Canadian time zone maps
- Official Times across Canada
- North American Time zone maps and border data