While Canada is only one country, it happens to be made up of six different time zones according to the Government of Canada! The land of Canada is large to such a point that the west coast happens to be 4 and a half hours behind the east coast. As the west coast reaches late morning, much of the east coast is actually just getting off work.
Pacific Standard Time
Pacific Standard Time is the time zone that the west coast of Canada fits within. It includes almost all of British Columbia and all of the Yukon. A portion of northeast BC remains exempt from this Pacific Standard Time timezone; the exemption for this region is because of linkages in industry with Alberta. Northeastern BC is heavily involved in natural resource extraction and fossil fuels; thus, they coordinate much of their business with Alberta’s energy sector.
Mountain Standard Time
Just to the east of BC is the time zone Mountain Standard Time. The Mountain Standard Time zone covers all of Alberta, the Northwest Territories, and parts of Nunavut as well. It also covers a couple portions of northeastern BC as mentioned above due to efficiency of having major energy and natural resources companies using the same time.
Central Standard Time
Moving further into the centre of Canada, we have central standard time. This particular time zone covers all of Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and parts of Ontario and Nunavut. This time zone is two hours ahead of the west coast and 2 and a half hours behind Newfoundland, the most eastern point of the country.
Eastern Standard Time
The Eastern Standard Time time zone includes some of Canada’s major cities such as Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City and Ottawa. The time zone covers part of Ontario and Nunavut, as well as the total of Quebec. The maritime provinces are excluded and are included in the remaining two time zones below.
Atlantic Standard Time
The time zone Atlantic Standard Time is inclusive of all of the maritime provinces, with the exception of Newfoundland and Labrador. Cities such as Halifax, Moncton, and Charlottetown are within the Atlantic Standard Time time zone. Atlantic Standard Time is 4 hours ahead of the west coast of the country, while also being just a half hour behind the Newfoundland Standard Time time zone.
Newfoundland Standard Time
Newfoundland is the only province in Canada that gets its own time zone. Newfoundland is the most eastern province in the country, bordering Quebec and situated just above the maritime provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island. Newfoundland has its own time zone for two reasons; the reasons are related to both the geography and history of the province of Newfoundland. First, Newfoundland is the most eastern of the provinces and as such as the extra half hour is necessary in order to ensure adequate brightness during the days and darkness during the nights. Second, Newfoundland is one of the newest provinces in Canada; Newfoundland did not become a part of Canada until 1949. As such, the new province stuck with their previous time zone.
While it may seem that Canada has many time zones, they definitely don’t have the most. France has double that, with 11 time zones. Meanwhile, both Russia and the USA have 11 time zones. Regardless, Canada does have 6 and this is important to note when trying to contact family back home or others in Canada that live within different provinces!
Source: Time Zones Canada