Canada is divided into six time zones, based on proposals by Scottish Canadian railway engineer Sir Sandford Fleming, who pioneered the use of the 24-hour clock, the world's time zone system, and a standard prime meridian. Most of Canada operates 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 National Research Council (NRC) maintains Canada's official time through the use of atomic clocks. The NRC 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. 11:13), which is widely used in contexts such as transportation schedules, parking meters, and data transmission. Speakers of Canadian French have fully adopted this system, but many users of Canadian English use the 12-hour clock in everyday speech (e.g. 11:13 a.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
- British Columbia (most of the province)
Pacific Daylight Time (PDT) UTC−07:00 year-round:
Mountain Time Zone
- 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 is MST year round, and Kootenay Bay–Crawford Bay area, which is Pacific Dailylight Time)
- 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) UTC−07:00 year-round:
- British Columbia, northeastern
- British Columbia, southeastern
Central Time Zone
- Creighton (unofficial)
- Ontario, northwestern
Central Standard Time (CST) UTC−06:00 year-round:
- Saskatchewan (most of the province) (see Lloydminster, and Creighton, above)
Eastern Time Zone
- east of 85° West, and
- all communities in the Qikiqtaaluk Region except Resolute
- Quebec (most of province)
Eastern Standard Time (EST) UTC−05:00 year-round:
Atlantic Time Zone
- 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:
Newfoundland Time Zone
- Labrador (southeastern)
Former time zones
- The Yukon Time Zone (UTC−09:00) covered Yukon until 1975. 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 used "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 uses UTC−03:30 as its standard time zone, used UTC−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, used Daylight Saving Time in 1916. Brandon, Manitoba on April 17 became the first place in the world to use it. It was followed by Winnipeg on April 23, Halifax on April 30, and Hamilton, Ontario on June 4.
Daylight saving time is currently observed in all ten provinces and three territories but with several exceptions in several provinces and Nunavut, including most of Saskatchewan, which despite geographically being in the Mountain Time Zone observes year-round CST. 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), adding parts of March and November starting in 2007, was adopted by the various provinces and territories on the following dates:
- Ontario, 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
- Newfoundland and Labrador – November 20, 2006, but officially announced on January 18, 2007
- Nunavut – February 19, 2007
- Saskatchewan – no official action taken, as almost all of the province does not change their clocks to summer time (they remain on CST all 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 rest of the country.
IANA time zone database
|c.c.*||coordinates*||TZ*||comments*||UTC offset||UTC offset DST||Notes|
|CA||+4734-05243||America/St_Johns||Newfoundland Time, including SE Labrador||−03:30||−02:30|
|CA||+4439-06336||America/Halifax||Atlantic Time - Nova Scotia (most places), PEI||−04:00||−03:00||Plus Îles-de-la-Madeleine and Listuguj Miꞌgmaq First Nation in Quebec.|
|CA||+4612-05957||America/Glace_Bay||Atlantic Time - Nova Scotia - places that did not observe DST 1966-1971||−04:00||−03:00||Likely includes all of Cape Breton Island.|
|CA||+4606-06447||America/Moncton||Atlantic Time - New Brunswick||−04:00||−03:00||Like America/Halifax, except DST time change happens at midnight rather than 2:00 a.m.|
|CA||+5320-06025||America/Goose_Bay||Atlantic Time - Labrador - most locations||−04:00||−03:00||Places that used Newfoundland Time until 1966.|
|CA||+5125-05707||America/Blanc-Sablon||Atlantic Standard Time - Quebec - Lower North Shore||−04:00||−04:00||East of 63rd meridian west.|
|CA||+4531-07334||America/Montreal||Eastern Time - Quebec - most locations||−05:00||−04:00||Redirects to America/Toronto.|
|CA||+4339-07923||America/Toronto||Eastern Time - Ontario & Quebec - most locations||−05:00||−04:00||Legally, its western border is 90th meridian west, but there are many de facto exceptions.|
|CA||+4901-08816||America/Nipigon||Eastern Time - Ontario & Quebec - places that did not observe DST 1967-1973||−05:00||−04:00||Places using Eastern time that did not observe DST 1967–1973.|
|CA||+4823-08915||America/Thunder_Bay||Eastern Time - Thunder Bay, Ontario||−05:00||−04:00||Places in Eastern Time that skipped DST in 1973.|
|CA||+6344-06828||America/Iqaluit||Eastern Time - east Nunavut - most locations||−05:00||−04:00|
|CA||+6608-06544||America/Pangnirtung||Eastern Time - Pangnirtung, Nunavut||−05:00||−04:00||Places that switched from Atlantic Time to Eastern Time in 1995.|
|CA||+744144-0944945||America/Resolute||Central Time - Resolute, Nunavut||−06:00||−05:00||Places in Central Time that skipped DST in 2007.|
|CA||+484531-0913718||America/Atikokan||Eastern Standard Time - Atikokan, Ontario and Southampton I, Nunavut||−05:00||−05:00||Legally CST/CDT, but in practice observes EST year-round.|
|CA||+624900-0920459||America/Rankin_Inlet||Central Time - central Nunavut||−06:00||−05:00|
|CA||+4953-09709||America/Winnipeg||Central Time - Manitoba & west Ontario||−06:00||−05:00||Includes Big Trout Lake and Denare Beach, though by law they should be in America/Toronto and America/Regina, respectively.|
|CA||+4843-09434||America/Rainy_River||Central Time - Rainy River & Fort Frances, Ontario||−06:00||−05:00||Places using Central time that did not observe DST 1967–1973.|
|CA||+5024-10439||America/Regina||Central Standard Time - Saskatchewan - most locations||−06:00||−06:00|
|CA||+5017-10750||America/Swift_Current||Central Standard Time - Saskatchewan - midwest||−06:00||−06:00||Western Saskatchewan towns that used Mountain Time until 1972.|
|CA||+5333-11328||America/Edmonton||Mountain Time - Alberta, east British Columbia & west Saskatchewan||−07:00||−06:00|
|CA||+690650-1050310||America/Cambridge_Bay||Mountain Time - west Nunavut||−07:00||−06:00|
|CA||+6227-11421||America/Yellowknife||Mountain Time - central Northwest Territories||−07:00||−06:00||East of 120th meridian west.|
|CA||+682059-1334300||America/Inuvik||Mountain Time - west Northwest Territories||−07:00||−06:00||West of 120th meridian west.|
|CA||+4906-11631||America/Creston||Mountain Standard Time - Creston, British Columbia||−07:00||−07:00||Places in Pacific Time that have not used DST since the database cuttoff date (1970).|
|CA||+5946-12014||America/Dawson_Creek||Mountain Standard Time - Dawson Creek & Fort Saint John, British Columbia||−07:00||−07:00||Places in Pacific Time that stopped using DST in 1973.|
|CA||+4916-12307||America/Vancouver||Pacific Time - west British Columbia||−08:00||−07:00|
|CA||+6043-13503||America/Whitehorse||Pacific Time - south Yukon||−08:00||−07:00||East of 138th meridian west.|
|CA||+6404-13925||America/Dawson||Pacific Time - north Yukon||−08:00||−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
- 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.
- Canada Flight Supplement. Effective 0901Z 21 May 2020 to 0901Z 16 July 2020.
- "NRC time services". National Research Council. Archived from the original on 20 July 2018. Retrieved 20 July 2018.
- 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.
- New Time Zone in Fort Nelson Archived 2016-03-04 at the Wayback Machine, timeanddate.com, September 21, 2015.
- 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
- "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.
- tzdb data for North and Central America and environs, https://data.iana.org/time-zones/tzdb/northamerica
- Interpretation Act, SC 1967–68, c 7, s 28, "standard time".
- Interpretation Ordinance, YCO 1967/59.