Canadian truckers don't want daylight-saving time extended

| 7/21/2005

The same extended daylight-saving time plan that U.S. legislators are touting as a cure for many energy-crisis woes could create a whole new series of problems for our neighbors to the north.

On Tuesday, July 19, a House and Senate conference committee devoted to passing the Energy Policy Act of 2005 approved an amendment that would start daylight-saving time one month earlier – beginning on the first Sunday in March – and extend it an extra month to the last Sunday of November.

Lawmakers are hoping the move will give the United States more hours of daylight in the evening, thus decreasing the use of electricity and fossil fuels. Supporters say the move could save as much as 1 percent of total energy consumption – the equivalent of 100,000 barrels of oil a day.

However, the time shift could have some negative consequences for cross-border truckers hauling goods between Canada and the United States.

Ron Lennox, vice president of regulatory affairs for the Canadian Trucking Alliance, told Land Line his organization will only take an official position on the issue if and when the energy bill is passed; however, he said the move could cause problems.

“We’ve had some concern expressed by carriers so far,” Lennox said. “Chief among them, of course, is the fact that with tight delivery schedules and two different times – one on each side of the border – the possibility for misunderstandings and confusion certainly exists.”

Lennox said the biggest problem will be coordinating schedules for times that will shift differently in two different countries several times during the year.

“If the U.S. is in a situation where they’ve moved forward of us by an hour for two months of the year, that would mean having to re-jig schedules to meet those demands,” he said. “From the drivers’ point of view – and certainly from the dispatchers’ point of view – you would then have to re-jig them again to go back to a harmonized schedule after that one-month discrepancy disappears.”

Lennox said should the new times become law in the United States, Canadian provinces would have to consider doing something similar.

“As I understand it … this would be a decision for the provinces to make,” he said. “They would have to consider what would be in their best interest. I know that the province of Ontario … is asking citizens to e-mail in and express their views on the situation, so obviously, provinces are looking at it fairly closely.”

– By Aaron Ladage, staff writer