[tz] Yukon, NWT, and Nunavut (Canada)

Chris Walton crj.walton at gmail.com
Sun Nov 6 18:06:59 UTC 2022

There are some inaccuracies in the TZ database rules for Northern Canada
between the years 1965 and 1995.

*Item A: On Sunday April 25, 1965, all parts of the Yukon switched to Yukon
Double Daylight Time (YDDT). *
This event is recorded in the database, but the associated rules have been
incorrectly extended to cover almost all of Northern Canada.

News article 1:
*Whitehorse Star *—* Thursday April 22, 1965 *—* page 1*
title: *DST Starts Monday*
> Yukon Daylight Saving Time starts this weekend. Clocks will be turned
> ahead two hours after midnight Saturday, April 24 and there may be a lot of
> people late for church this Sunday.
> Trial period for DST was approved by Territorial Council last month for
> this summer, after which a second look may be taken from Yukoners' point of
> view.  Two hour change was adopted to fall in line with British Columbia
> and Alberta summer times.

The title of this first article is wrong and/or misleading.
Also, the start time shown in the  article is vague; it simply says "after
midnight" when it probably should have stated 2:00a.m.

News article 2:
*Whitehorse Star *—* Thursday April 29, 1965 *—* page 1*
title: *DST Continues 'Till Hallowe'en*

> Daylight Saving Time started in the Yukon five days ago, and already the
> Commissioner's office is being besieged with calls from sleepy local
> citizens wanting to know when it's going to end.
> The two-hour change which began Sunday at two a.m. brings the Territory
> into line with B.C. and Alberta time for the summer, but three hours ahead
> for travelers from Alaska.
> An official said Wednesday that many calls have come in from people asking
> how long the experiment will last.  The answer is another six months.
> Date for the change back to Yukon Standard Time Oct. 31 at two a.m.


News article 3:
*Whitehorse Star *—* Monday October 25, 1965 *—* page 15*

> Commissioner G.C. Cameron announced today that daylight Saving Time will
> come to an end, for this year, at 2a.m.  October 31.  This means that all
> clocks and watches should be turned back two hours as of that date.
> The double daylight saving time was adopted this summer, on a trial basis
> , so that Yukon time would correspondent with British Columbia and Alberta
> time.
> ...


The 1965 Yukon Council minutes can be found here:
Unfortunately I could not find an official CO or OIC.

It is clear from the council minutes and the newspaper articles that the
Yukon government wanted the clocks to be in sync with British Columbia and
Alberta for the summer.
However, the Yukon council members never once mentioned NWT
(Northwest Territories) when debating or discussing the time change.
I do not currently believe that NWT touched any of its clocks in 1965.
Keep in mind that the land currently under the jurisdiction of Nunavut
belonged to NWT prior to 1999.

*All of the 1965 clock transitions for NWT and Nunavut should be removed
from the TZ database unless somebody can provide compelling evidence to
support them.*
Zones in need of fixing:
   America/Yellowknife   (NWT)
   America/Inuvik        (NWT)
   America/Iqaluit       (Nunavut)
   America/Cambridge_Bay (Nunavut)
   America/Pangnirtung   (Nunavut)
   America/Rankin_Inlet  (Nunavut)
   America/Resolute      (Nunavut)

*For the two Yukon zones, the April 25, 1965 start time should probably be
changed in the TZ database from 00:00 to 2:00am.*
Zones in need of fixing:

*Item B: On Sunday February 27, 1966, the part of the Yukon that lies east
of the 136th meridian and south of the 62nd parallel switched from UTC-9 to

This change was mandated by Commissioner's Order 1966-20. Brian Inglis
referenced it in a 2015 posting to this mailing list.
Brian was unable to locate a copy of the Commissioner's Order or any
details about it.  He simply stated "no online source found".
I found two newspaper articles which give us the missing details:

News article 1:
*Whitehorse Star *—* Thursday Feb 24,1966 *—* page 2*
title: *It's Time for YDT*

> Sometime between midnight Saturday, Feb. 26 and Sunday morning Feb. 27,
> residents of the southern part of the Yukon will get a bonus of an extra
> hour for Rendezvous celebrating.
> That's the date for changeover to Yukon Daylight Time which resulted from
> the recent territorial plebiscite on the subject.
> From Whitehorse to Watson Lake, settlements will observe the fast time;
> elsewhere, Yukoners will remain on Yukon Standard Time.
> Whitehorse, Ross River, Carcross, Teslin, Brooks Brook, Johnson's
> Crossing, Watson Lake and Upper Liard... when the clock is wound at
> midnight this Saturday, the hands should be set ahead one hour... to one
> o'clock Yukon Daylight Time.

I don't think that the author understood that moving the clock forward
meant an hour was lost instead of gained!  Oh well!  Also, it was a
permanent change and should not have been considered to be "daylight time".

News article 2 (with more detail):
*Whitehorse Star *—* Thursday March 3, 1966 *—* page 15*
title: *Standard Time for Election*

> Returning Officer R. B. COUSINS Wednesday received a reply from Chief
> Electoral Officer N. Castonguay, in Ottawa, ruling on the matter of time
> changes in Yukon affecting the territorial by-election in Whitehorse West
> next Monday. His Message read as follows:
> "Commissioner's Order 1966-20, dated January 27, 1966, provides from and
> after midnight February 26, Yukon Standard Time as defined by section 36 of
> the Interpretation Ordinance shall be reckoned in the same manner as
> Pacific Standard Time.  That is eight hours behind Greenwich Mean Time for
> the area lying east of 136 degrees longitude and west and south of 62
> degrees latitude. In the remainder of the territory Yukon standard time
> shall be reckoned as nine hours behind Greenwich mean time.  This means
> that in Whitehorse, Yukon Standard Time is eight hours behind Greenwich
> Mean Time and all operations of Canada Elections Act in your electoral
> district are governed by Yukon Standard Time.  Advise all candidates and
> other parties interested."
> In other words, Yukon time in Whitehorse Monday for purposes of voting
> will be the same as anything else... Yukon Southern Standard.

There is a typo in this article where it says "and west and south". It
presumably should have stated "lying east of 136° West longitude and south
of 62° North latitude".

*This change is not currently reflected in the TZ database; it should be
applied to America/Whitehorse as a permanent change from UTC-9(YST) to
UTC-8(PST) at 00:00 on Sunday February 27, 1966.*
Zones in need of fixing:


*Item C: On Sunday May 28, 1967, the Yukon redefined the boundary between
UTC-9 and UTC-8 to be a single straight line running along the 138th
This change was a result of Commissioner's Order 1967-59 which can be seen

Brian Inglis already quoted the Commissioner's Order on this mailing list
(in the same posting I mentioned for item B above), but I will provide it
again here.

>  1. Commissioner's Order 1966-20 dated at Whitehorse in the Yukon
> Territory on 27th January, 1966, is hereby revoked.
>  2. Yukon (East) Standard Time as defined by section 36 of the
> Interpretation Ordinance from and after mid-night on the 28th day of May,
> 1967 shall be reckoned in the same manner as Pacific Standard Time, that is
> to say, eight hours behind Greenwich Time in the area of the Yukon
> Territory lying east of the 138th degree longitude west.
>  3. In the remainder of the Territory, lying west of the 138th degree
> longitude west, Yukon (West) Standard Time shall be reckoned as nine hours
> behind Greenwich Time.

News article:
*Whitehorse Star *—* Thursday May 11, 1967 *—* page 1*
title: *Don't Touch That Clock*

> The Yukon will be going on a new double time system after midnight May 28
> but Whitehorse residents won't notice the change.
> Neither will most of the residents in other Yukon communities.
> The change will place everyone on the east side of the 138 meridian on
> Pacific Standard Time which is the same as Yukon Southern Standard Time
> which is the same as Yukon Eastern Standard Time which is what most of
> these people are on now.
> Everyone on the west side of the 138th meridian will be on Yukon Standard
> Time, or nine hours behind Greenwich time, which is Yukon Northern Standard
> Time which is Yukon Western Standard Time, which is what they're on now.
> The meridian runs north and south through the territory, passing near
> Gravel Lake on the Stewart-Dawson Road, and just past Haines Junction on
> the Alaska Highway.
> This means that residents of Haines Junction, who petitioned for the
> change several months ago, will now be on the same time as Whitehorse,
> moving their clocks ahead one hour at midnight May 28. The same applies to
> Carmacks residents, and some in Mayo and Keno.
> Elsa adopted Whitehorse time for practical business reasons some time ago.
> Announcing the forthcoming change to Territorial Council this week,
> Commissioner J. Smith said the new system will be tried for a year and if
> it doesn't work out, the entire territory will revert to one time zone
> again.


The Commissioner's Order and the newspaper article both refer to "midnight"
on May 28. This possibly should be interpreted as "00:00 Sunday May 28"
instead of "24:00 Sunday May 28" because a scheduled change for a Sunday
night seems unlikely.
However, the exact time and date is moot for the purposes of the TZ
database because the change did not affect either Dawson City or Whitehorse.
If it were not for the 1970 cutoff policy in the TZ database, we would need
a new zone named "America/Carmacks" or "America/Haines_Junction"... and
only then would we need to worry about the exact date and time of the
transition. It seems like we might also have needed "America/Elsa".

*The TZ database currently shows America/Whitehorse changing from UTC-9 to
UTC-8 at 00:00 May 28, 1967; this rule is incorrect because Whitehorse had
already transitioned to UTC-8 the year before. See item (B) above.*
Zones in need of fixing:

*Item D: The Northwest Territories has been using daylight saving every
summer since 1972.*

News article 1:
*Whitehorse Star *—* Friday April 28,1972 *—* page 6*
title: *Daylight Saving Time for N.W.T.*

> The Northwest Territories goes on daylight saving time at 2 a.m. on Sunday
> when residents will set their clocks ahead one hour.
> The only exception is the community of Coral Harbour on Southampton Island
> which will remain unchanged in order that residents there will be on the
> same time as those in the Keewatin.
> Coral Harbour is in the eastern time zone and is one hour ahead of the
> Keewatin region which operates in the central time zone.
> Daylight saving time in the Territories is necessary to eliminate the
> confusion in work hours between northern and southern Canada.
> The move is being made because Alberta will be going on daylight saving
> time for the first time on a province-wide basis at the same time.
> If the NWT did not follow suit, all Alberta communities would be one hour
> ahead of communities in the Mackenzie District of the NWT causing
> difficulties and confusion in respect to transportation scheduling and
> radio programming


The implication is that NWT started using daylight saving at 2:00a.m. on
Sunday April 30,1972 which matches the records we have for Alberta.
Note: there is a blog about this at
The blog has an image of the same newspaper article; it claims the article
was published on April 18 instead of April 28 but that is an error.

Another bit of proof that NWT (and much of Canada) was already using
daylight saving prior to 1980 lies in the wording of the following Yukon
*Whitehorse Star *—* Friday April 25,1980 *—* page 1*
title: *Turn Your Clock Ahead Sunday*

> As of 2 a.m next Sunday, Yukoners will become the last people across
> Canada to join the ranks of the enlightened — on daylight saving time.
> Clocks will be turned ahead one hour. That means on Sunday morning, what
> was 7:00 last week will then be 8:00. Standard time resumes next October.
> So you'll get one less hour's sleep tomorrow night.  Daylight saving is
> said to save on energy and even reduce crime. But don't lose any sleep over
> it.


Obviously I would have preferred to cite a Yellowknife (NWT) newspaper
instead of a Whitehorse (Yukon) newspaper, but I could not find online
archives of Yellowknife newspapers for the applicable time frame.

*Nunavut and NWT zones should be updated in the TZ database to show
observance of DST starting in 1972 instead of 1980.Start and End dates
should be the same as the rest of Canada (last Sunday in April to last
Sunday in October) with all transitions at 2:00a.m.*
Zones in need of fixing:
   America/Yellowknife   (NWT)
   America/Inuvik        (NWT)
   America/Iqaluit       (Nunavut)
   America/Cambridge_Bay (Nunavut)
   America/Pangnirtung   (Nunavut)
   America/Rankin_Inlet  (Nunavut)
   America/Resolute      (Nunavut)

Note that no changes are required for the two Yukon zones that correctly
show Yukon reinstating daylight saving in 1980.

*Item E: Pangnirtung*

A comment in the TZ database northamerica file reads: "Pangnirtung switched
to eastern time; we'll guess 1995."

Context: The communities of Pangnirtung and Qikiqtarjuaq (Broughton Island)
are located on the east side of Baffin Island in Nunavut; they sit east of
68°W and according to the old NWT legislation, they were both supposed to
have been on Atlantic Time.
The 5th edition of the Atlas of Canada contains a time zone map that shows
both legislated and observed time zone boundaries. All communities on
Baffin Island are shown to be *observing *Eastern time. The date on the map
is 1984.

The implication is that Pangnirtung and Qikiqtarjuaq have observed Eastern
Time as far back as 1984 (and likely even further back than that).
It is possible that these communities never actually observed Atlantic
Time, but that would be difficult to prove.

*The TZ database rules for America/Pangirtung should be adjusted to show
Eastern Time as far back as at least 1984.*
Theoretically the zone could also be moved to the backzone file due to lack
of any reliable history between 1970 and 1984; but I am not going to
actively push for that.
Zones in need of fixing:
   America/Pangnirtung   (Nunavut)

FYI: There is an older time zone map in the 4th edition of the Atlas of
Canada.  It has a date of 1967.
Unfortunately it shows only the legislated boundaries which are not useful
to us.

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