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Daylight Savings Time - It's New Effect on Canadian IT systems

Stuart Crawford
 


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This Sunday, March 11th, Canada and the other parts of the world will prepare not to spring ahead but take a leap forward. Daylight Savings Time will hit us four weeks earlier that what we have been used to in the past due to a change passed in the United States to extend the period of the time that daylight savings time is in effect. Daylight Savings Time will now be in effect from the second Sunday in March to the First Sunday in November.

Why the change and why now? The biggest reason is that DST saves energy. Originally introduced in Germany around World War I, companies and factories could offer natural light as a lighting source instead of using expensive artificial light. In the early 1900’s implementing an early DST means businesses use less electricity and energy because natural light is extended by one hour when they need it the most – at the end of the business day.

The US Congress passed the Energy Policy Act in July 2005 and signed by US President George W. Bush in August 2005 which included the extension of Daylight Savings Time starting March 11, 2007.

In Canada, setting of time is a provincial responsibility and the majority of the provinces have followed the United States in adopting the new daylight savings time changes, from a business perspective, it just makes sense. The US is one of our biggest trading partners, and why would we not follow their example? Over 70 countries across the world observe daylight savings time as a standard practice.

What areas in Canada are affected by this change? The usual provinces that have observed Daylight Savings Time in the past will continue this practice, and those provinces that traditionally have not will continue this practice. The areas in Canada that do not observe DST are Saskatchewan (Central time year round), some areas of British Columbia – Fort St. John and Dawson Creek in the north and Creston in the south (Pacific Time in Summer). There are other small pockets in Quebec and Ontario that do not observe DST as well as some border towns along the time zone boundaries. Just to add to the confusion around the change, most provinces change around 2 am on the Sunday. Newfoundland and Labrador change right after midnight. Consult with National Research Council website for more information to see how your area of the country is affected.

What does all this mean to the IT industry in Canada? IT Professionals will be busy ensuring that all systems that use time and scheduling are patched with the rules for the new dates and times for the DST changes. The majority of software and hardware vendors now have patches available to ensure that their software is compliant with these new changes. Patching of all systems will be a time consuming event and needs to be started by now.

The majority of software vendors do have updates and patches available for their software, it is recommended that you check their websites to ensure that you have the latest updates or consult with a trained IT professional in your area to ensure that your business is covered.

Business owners who are unsure what systems they need to patch or update to ensure that they are ready for the changes this weekend need to contact their systems administrator today to ensure that all of their systems are ready to go on Sunday. The effects of this change may cause security systems, scheduling software, appointments and other time tracking systems will be out of sync with the real time.

For the next few weeks, my recommendation is that you verify all your appointments to ensure that you are on the right time and you don’t show up early or late because of a shift in DST and dealing with updated or not updated computer systems.

Stuart Crawford is a business leader in the Calgary, Alberta small business computer consulting marketplace. His company IT Matters is an award winning Microsoft Small Business Specialist and Gold Partner. He can be reached at scrawford@itmatters.ca or via their website at http://www.itmatters.ca Stuart also manages the Canadian Small Business Show at http://www.canadiansmallbusinessshow.com

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