Time in Saskatchewan
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The Canadian province of Saskatchewan is geographically located in the Mountain Time Zone. However, most of the province observes Central Standard Time year-round. As a result, it is effectively on daylight saving time (DST) year round, as clocks are not turned back an hour in autumn when most jurisdictions return to standard time.
The city of Lloydminster is the only exception to this arrangement. Located partly in Saskatchewan and partly in Alberta, it observes Mountain Time year-round, and changes its clocks for DST. Since Lloydminster does change its clocks, the time in Saskatchewan is the same in all parts of the province during the summer months.
In 1912, the first law was passed that called for the use of standard time. This law left the choice of time zone up to the municipal government. The result was a patchwork of towns following either of the two neighbouring time zones (Mountain Standard Time or Central Standard Time) with or without daylight saving time.
In 1966, the Saskatchewan Provincial Government sought the help of a professional astronomer living in the province. The Milton Study (Earl R.V. Milton - A submission to the Government of Saskatchewan regarding Time Zones in Saskatchewan, 1966) a) concluded that Saskatchewan is in the Mountain Standard Time Zone, and b) suggested that the three prairie provinces (Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba) covered too much area to share a single time zone.
In 1966, based on the Milton Study, the Saskatchewan Government passed Chapter 85, to be known as the Time Act, 1966 (Statutes of Saskatchewan, 1966). The key points of this act were:
- The eastern part of Saskatchewan will permanently be one hour ahead of Mountain Standard Time (the equivalent of Central Standard Time).
- In the western part of Saskatchewan (e. g., all points west of Saskatoon), municipal governments will still be able to choose what time zone to follow.
In the early part of this century, discussion was renewed over whether Saskatchewan should change its clocks to be in synch with other provinces. And if so, whether to stay on Mountain Time, or move to a kind of double DST by going yet another hour ahead in the summer. Premier Brad Wall had pledged to hold a referendum in the 2011 provincial election, but later decided against it, saying it would be a waste of money since polls consistently showed a strong majority favoured the status quo.
The only cities that chose not to match the rest of Saskatchewan's time zone were in the southwest, in the areas around Lloydminster and Swift Current. Part of Lloydminster spills into Alberta, which mandates the use of daylight saving time. In order to keep clocks in sync throughout the city, Lloydminster chose to follow Alberta's practice of observing daylight saving time—effectively placing Lloydminster and the surrounding area on Mountain Time year-round. Swift Current and surrounding communities also observed Mountain Time until April 30, 1972 when they changed to match the rest of the province.
With respect to some province-wide matters, such as provincial elections, CST is effectively used province-wide. This means that during any provincial general election held when DST is not in effect in Lloydminster, polls in that city will open and close an hour earlier local time compared to the rest of the province. For other matters (for example, liquor laws), the local time is always the effective time in Lloydminster.
The town of Creighton which is across the border from the larger community of Flin Flon, Manitoba unofficially observes Central Daylight Time with the rest of Manitoba. Unlike Lloydminster, Creighton's use of CDT has no legal sanction at the provincial level. This has some interesting side effects - for example, liquor establishments in Creighton are able to stay open one hour later than establishments in Flin Flon whilst CDT is in effect since a liquor establishment in Creighton can only be bound to observe CST by provincial law.
Saskatchewan Time Zone
Due to these discrepancies, many computer programs and major operating systems offer a distinct "Saskatchewan" option when listing time zone options that automatically disables DST. In the tz database, both the America/Regina and America/Swift_Current entries result in Saskatchewan time.
The current wording of the Time Act says that during the entire year Saskatchewan observes "central standard time", which is defined to be "the time that is six hours behind Greenwich time". With respect to mean solar time however, this translates into Saskatchewan effectively being on DST year round. In the map above, Saskatchewan is the rectangle of Central Standard Time protruding into Mountain Standard Time in Canada, visually displaying that geographically, Saskatchewan is in the Mountain Time Zone.
- "The Time Act: being Chapter T-14 of The Revised Statutes of Saskatchewan, 1978 (effective February 26, 1978) as amended by the Statutes of Saskatchewan, 1979–80, c.M-32.01, 45 and 92; 1983, c.11, 27 and 77; 1983–84, c.49 and 54; 1986–87–88, c.35; 1989–90, c.54; 1990–91, c.28; 1996, c.E-6.01 and 32; and 2005, c.M-36.1" (PDF). 2005. Retrieved 2008-01-09.
Central standard time shall be used and observed throughout the year….