Sun Safety at Work Canada: Outdoor worker sun safety


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.

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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.


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

Scientific Article
  • Sun Safety at Work Canada: a multiple case-study protocol to develop sun safety and heat protection programs and policies for outdoor workers

Poster Presentation & Blog Post
  • Sun Safety at Work | Blog Post

  • Sun Safety at Work | About the Project

Research Team
Thomas Tenkate
Ryerson University
Desre M. Kramer
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