Sun Safety and Ultraviolet Radiation (UVR) in Canada

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Release date: May 17, 2017
Infographic: Sun Safety and Ultraviolet Radiation (UVR) in Canada
Description: Sun Safety and Ultraviolet Radiation (UVR) in Canada

Canadians' time spent in the sun* on a typical summer day off:

  • 13% no time in the sun
  • 41%  less than 2 hours
  • 29%  2 to 4 hours
  • 17% 4 or more hours
*Between 11 am and 4 pm

33% of adult Canadians reported a sunburn during the past year.

  • 30% of women.
  • 37% of men.

Mean Ultraviolet Radiation (UVR)**

The map of Canada shows zone levels of ultraviolet radiation (UVR) from north to south. Northern Canada generally has the low UVR, while moving further south the level of UVR increases. The highest UVR are closest to the US-Canada border.

The overall risk of melanoma increases by 22% per UVR zone from North to South. The risk increases by 26% for men and 17% for women.

**June – August 1980 to 1990

Sun protection among people who spend at least 30 minutes in the sun:

  • seek shade (46% women, 36% men)
  • wear sunscreen on the face 63% women, (29% men)
  • wear sunscreen on the body (51% women, 26% men)
  • wear a hat (27% women, 50% men)
  • wear pants or a long skirt (19% women, 35% men)

Associations between melanoma and UVR exposure were higher for people with:

  • Outdoor occupations
  • Lower income
  • Lower education

Women living in regions with higher UVR were more likely to protect themselves against the sun. This was not true for men.


Pinault L, Bushnik T, Fioletov V, et al. The risk of melanoma associated with ambient summer ultraviolet radiation. Health Reports 2017; 28(5): 3-11.
Pinault L, Fioletov V. Sun exposure, sun protection and sunburn among Canadian adults. Health Reports 2017; 28(5): 12-19.

URL: Statistics Canada

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