A research centre focused on occupational cancer

The Occupational Cancer Research Centre (OCRC), established in 2009, is the first of its kind in Canada. The establishment of the OCRC grew out of the recognized need to re-emphasize research on the causes and prevention of occupation-related cancers after decades of diminished effort in most countries.

The OCRC will work to fill the gaps in our knowledge of occupation-related cancers and use these findings to inform preventive programs to control workplace carcinogenic (cancer-causing) exposures and improve the health of workers.

A substantial and unacceptable burden

Approximately 60 occupational exposures have been classified as definite or probable human carcinogens (cancer-causing) and over a hundred more are suspected carcinogens. There are many workplace substances that cause cancer in animals that have not been carefully evaluated in humans.  Occupational exposures may account for 20 to 30% of the cancers among blue collar workers.

How the OCRC operates

The OCRC is a unique partnership that unites research, healthcare, workplace safety, labour and industry groups. It is jointly funded by Ontario Health (Cancer Care Ontario), the Ontario Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development, and the Canadian Cancer Society and was developed in collaboration with the United Steelworkers. The Centre is housed at Ontario Health (Cancer Care Ontario). It is led by a Director, Dr. Paul Demers, and supported by a Steering Committee.

Visit the OCRC partners’ websites:

Ontario Health (Cancer Care Ontario)
Ontario Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development
Canadian Cancer Society
United Steelworkers

A World Health Organization Collaborating Centre

In 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) designated the Occupational Cancer Research Centre (OCRC) as a Collaborating Centre for Occupational and Environmental Cancer. This designation is the result of a long-standing partnership between OCRC, CAREX Canada, and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), which serves as the Americas regional office of the WHO, on occupational cancer research and prevention in Latin America and the Caribbean. Click here to read more.