Sun Safety at Work Canada: Outdoor worker sun safety

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Status: complete


The objective of the Sun Safety at Work Canada project was to develop a nationally-applicable, effective and sustainable sun safety program for outdoor workers that addresses both skin cancer and heat stress prevention and can be implemented by individual workplaces. It was guided by a comprehensive knowledge translation strategy that allowed for wide distribution of the project’s findings as a way of influencing policy and practice.


Skin cancer represents a significant public health issue for Canada, while heat-stress is recognized as an important emerging issue. For both of these conditions, occupational sun exposure is a significant risk factor. CAREX Canada estimates show that there are approximately 1.5 million outdoor workers in Canada who receive substantial exposure to the sun. Outdoor workers are often inadequately protected.


The project had two complementary phases of activity. In Phase 1, a comprehensive trial of the Sun Safety at Work Canada program was developed and implemented. This program and its toolkit of resources was trialed in three regions across Canada (British Columbia, the Atlantic Provinces, and Ontario) in 15 workplaces with outdoor workers. Municipalities and electrical utility companies were recruited for the study. The project team worked actively with each workplace to tailor a comprehensive sun safety program to their specific characteristics, and to embed the program within the context of their existing prevention and occupational health and safety (OHS) efforts. These activities were evaluated to enable development of the Sun Safety at Work Canada program for use by a broader audience through the Phase 2 activities. In Phase 2, a broad group of interested industry and union stakeholders were engaged in the findings of the research.


This program enables workplaces throughout the country to implement effective and sustainable sun safety policies and practices on their own, through adapting the resources and tools to their own needs and characteristics and to their current stage of policy and practice.


Sun Safety at Work Canada is complete. Visit our website at



This study received a $1.2 million grant from the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer: Coalitions Linking Action and Science for Prevention 2 (CLASP2) competition.

Research team:

Thomas Tenkate (Ryerson University)
Desre M. Kramer (Occupational Cancer Research Centre)
D. Linn Holness (Centre for Research Expertise in Occupational Disease and St. Michael’s Hospital)
Peter Strahlendorf  (Ryerson University)
Peter J. Green (Dalhousie University and Sun Safe Nova Scotia)
Brenda Marsh (Occupational Nurses Association of Nova Scotia and Sun Safe Nova Scotia)
Kelly Cull (Canadian Cancer Society-Nova Scotia Division and Sun Safe Nova Scotia)
Danica Finch (Canadian Cancer Society-Nova Scotia Division and Sun Safe Nova Scotia)
Judith Purcell (Sun Safe Nova Scotia)
Steve Quantz (Alberta Health Services)
Cheryl Peters (CAREX Canada and Carleton University)
Alison Palmer (CAREX Canada)
Colin Murray (WorkSafe BC)
Chantal Courchesne (Canadian Dermatology Association)


Tracy Burgess, Sun Safety Advisor
Renzo Dalla Via, Senior Sun Safety Advisor
Lindsay Forsman-Phillips, Sun Safety Advisor
Emily Gross, Research Associate
Rivka Kushner, Knowledge Broker
Keith McMillan, Sun Safety Advisor
Garthika Navaranjan, Research Associate
Brenda Santos, Project Coordinator
Christine Carthew, Student