Solar UVR protection: Provincial/territorial sun safety policies in child care settings

Learn how provincial and territorial governments can reduce exposure to solar ultraviolet radiation (UVR) in child care settings

Inside this UVR policy pack

Sun safety policies in child care settings


Develop UVR protection policies in child care settings, schools, recreational settings for children and adolescents, and workplaces with outdoor workers1,2,3


Adopt sun safety policies within child care settings3,4

  • Provide ultraviolet protection control measures in line with best practice (e.g., protective clothing (hats, sunglasses, other), use of sunscreen, modelling by teachers, shade, scheduling of recess, education and enforcement) 3,4

Degree of policy adoption*


Current action(s) in Canada

Although most provinces and territories address sun safety practices within policies that regulate child care, policies vary in the extent to which they comprehensively prevent UVR exposures:

  • Four provinces (NL, NS, ON, MB) and two territories (NT, NU) require that children wear protective clothing (including sunglasses and hats) for outdoor play.
  • Five provinces (NL, NS, QC, ON, MB) and two territories (NT, NU) require application of sunscreen for outdoor play.
  • Two provinces (NB, MB) and two territories (NT, NU) require modelling sun protective behaviours by staff (including wearing protective clothing and applying sunscreen).
  • Seven provinces (NS, NB, QC, ON, MB, SK, BC) and two territories (NT, NU) mandate the provision of shade in outdoor play spaces. However, requirements for shade provision and coverage vary. For example, New Brunswick requires that at least 10% of the play area be shaded, Ontario indicates that shade should be included as a consideration for additional protection from environmental factors in rooftop playgrounds, and British Columbia includes the shade as a consideration for sun protection in play space design.
  • Four provinces (NL, NS, NB, MB) and two territories (NT, NU) suggest modifying time spent outdoors based on sunshine UV index as a means of protecting children from sun exposure in policy documentation.
  • Education about sun protection in child care settings was not apparent policy documentation and enforcement of sun protection practices occurs through inspection processes outlined within legislation.

Most provinces and territories that have adopted sun safety policies within child care settings include policy information within documents that supplement child care legislation. The documentation defines criteria that is to be followed by child care providers to meet requirements under legislation for licensing and operation of child care centres. (For more information on guidance documentation for licensed child care providers, please see Provincial and territorial solar UVR guidelines for child care settings).

* Levels of adoption:  Low = very few jurisdictions have adopted evidence-informed policy action; Medium = some, but not all jurisdictions have adopted evidence-informed policy action; High = most jurisdictions have adopted evidence-informed policy action.


1 Cancer Care Ontario (2016). Prevention System Quality Index. Retrieved from:

2 Occupational Cancer Research Centre (OCRC)/Cancer Care Ontario (CCO). (2017).  Burden of Occupational Cancer in Ontario: Major workplace carcinogens and prevention of exposure. Retrieved from:

3 SunSmart Victoria. (2015). Policy Statements and Actions. Retrieved from:

4Department of Health (Victoria, Australia). (2019). Shade Grants Program. Retrieved from: