Canada is divided into six time zones. 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.
Main article: National Research Council Time Signal
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.
Main article: Date and time notation in Canada § Time
The Government of Canada recommends use of the 24-hour clock (e.g. 22:26), 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. 10:26 p.m.), even when reading from a 24-hour display, similar to the use of the 24-hour clock in the United Kingdom.
Pacific Standard Time (PST) GMT−08:00 and Pacific Daylight Time (PDT) GMT−07:00:
Mountain Standard Time (MST) GMT−07:00 and Mountain Daylight Time (MDT) GMT−06:00:
Mountain Standard Time (MST) GMT−07:00 year-round:
Central Standard Time (CST) GMT−06:00 and Central Daylight Time CDT GMT−05:00:
Central Standard Time (CST) GMT−06:00 year-round:
Eastern Standard Time (EST) GMT−05:00 and Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) GMT−04:00:
Eastern Standard Time (EST) GMT−05:00 year-round:
Atlantic Standard Time (AST) GMT−04:00 and Atlantic Daylight Time (ADT) GMT−03:00:
Atlantic Standard Time (AST) UTC−04:00 year-round:
Newfoundland Standard Time (NST) GMT−03:30 and Newfoundland Daylight Time (NDT) GMT−02:30:
Main article: Daylight saving time in Canada
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:
Data for Canada from zone.tab of the IANA time zone database. Columns marked with * are the columns from zone.tab itself.
|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.|
|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||+4901−08816||America/Nipigon||Eastern - ON, QC (no DST 1967-73)||−05:00||−04:00||Places using Eastern time that did not observe DST 1967–1973.|
|CA||+4823−08915||America/Thunder_Bay||Eastern - ON (Thunder Bay)||−05:00||−04:00||Places in Eastern Time that skipped DST in 1973.|
|CA||+6344−06828||America/Iqaluit||Eastern - NU (most east areas)||−05:00||−04:00|
|CA||+6608−06544||America/Pangnirtung||Eastern - NU (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||+4843−09434||America/Rainy_River||Central - ON (Rainy R, Ft Frances)||−06:00||−05:00||Places using Central Time that did not observe DST 1967–1973.|
|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||+5946−12014||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.|