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SunSense Certification

Skin cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer, despite being HIGHLY PREVENTABLE.

The SunSense Certification acknowledges and celebrates schools that have created a sun safe environment to protect students and staff from harmful ultraviolet radiation. By using a multi-component approach that engages parents, staff and students, schools can influence sun safety behaviours and create a sun safe culture within the school community.

To become certified schools complete certain activities and earn points for each activity completed. Based on the number of points earned the school is awarded a bronze, silver or gold level SunSense Certification. Details can be found in the Certification Guide.

Learning about sun safety and how to enjoy the outdoors in a healthy and safe way is an essential part of every child's education

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Registration is closed for 2020-21 school year.

  • How does my school get Certified?

    Schools can gain the title of being a SunSense Certified school by completing a 7-step process outlined in the Certification Guide. At each step, schools will earn points by completing key milestones and activities. Schools that earn enough points are awarded a Gold, Silver, or Bronze level SunSense certificate.

    Please review the Certification Guide to learn more about the certification process and the activities your school can complete.

    Important Dates

     February 12, 2021
    Progress Report due
    (includes information about steps 2 & 3)
     June 11, 2021
    Submit Final Report

     June 21, 2021 (week of)
     Certificates Awarded

  • Why should SunSense be practiced in schools?

    Research indicates that childhood exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UVR) is an important contributing factor to the development of skin cancer later in life. But staying inside is not the answer. As Canadian children are spending more time indoors in front of screens, it is imperative that they enjoy the health and wellness benefits of being in the outdoors.

    Given students are at school during the highest UVR risk period of the day - between 11:00 AM and 3:00 PM - schools can play a major role in both minimizing student's exposure and positively influencing student behaviour by establishing routines that foster healthy, safe enjoyment of the outdoors.

  • Program Resources
    The Canadian Cancer Society provides a number of FREE tools and resources to assist you in meeting your goals. The documents listed below can be downloaded here FREE. UV Bracelets, Fortune Tellers, Parent Information Cards and Posters are available to schools registered in the SunSense certification program. An order form for these materials is included in the registration form.

    Certification Guide

    The Certification Guide provides detailed information on the certification process and how to earn points towards becoming a SunSense Certified School.

    Download Certification Guide
      Shade Guide 

    The Shade Guide provides information on completing a shade audit and planning for shade on your school grounds. 

    Download Shade Guide

    Teaching Guide Grades 1-3

    The Teaching Guide provides lessons and activities on sun safety and provides ideas on how to use the UV bracelets.

    A presentation slide deck is also included to assist in delivering the lesson.

    Download Teaching Guide Grades 1-3
    Download Slide Deck Grades 1-3

    Teaching Guide Grades 4-6

    The Teaching Guide provides lessons and activities on sun safety and provides ideas on how to use the UV bracelets and baggage tags in the lesson.

    A presentation slide deck is also included to assist in delivering the lesson.

    Download Teaching Guide Grades 4-6
    Download Slide Deck Grades 4-6
      Letter to Parents

    This letter can be sent to parents to let them know that their children are learning about sun safety. It is a nice way to also educate parents and encourage them to reinforce these lessons at home.

    There is one letter for Grades 1-3 and one letter for Grades 4-6

    Download Letter Grades 1-3

    Download Letter Grades 4-6

    Educate School Staff

    Use these recorded presentations, staff can view on their own or include them in a staff meeting. Each video is about 8-10 minutes long.

    Module 1: About skin cancer 

    Module 2: Practice SunSense

    Module 3: Myths and Facts

    Module 4: SunSense Certification

    Fact Sheet

    The Fact Sheet can be used to educate parents, staff and students about skin cancer risk and the importance of practicing SunSense. These facts and stats really highlight the need for early intervention to prevent skin cancer.

    Download Fact Sheet

    Parent Information Card

    These cards can be distributed to parents of children in the school to educate them on sun safety and help reinforce the lesson learned at school

    Download Parent Information Card

    Also available to order with registration.

    Policy Guide

    The policy guide outlines a step-by-step process to develop and implement a sun protection policy for schools. This can also be adapted for other places where children play, learn and are cared for, including camps, post-secondary schools and child care centres.

    Download Policy Guide

    Activity Sheets

    Activity sheets are provided as additional teaching tools to reinforce lessons already learned about sun sense and to test sun safety knowledge.

    Download Trivia Sheet

    Download Crossword
    Download Word Scramble


    The poster highlights key SunSense tips on how to enjoy the outdoors safety. Posters can be displayed across the school to remind students to practice SunSense.

    Download Poster

    Also available to order with registration

    UV Bracelets

    Ultra Violet (UV) beads come with a string that can be assembled in the form of a bracelet. Students can wear these as a reminder of the presence of UV rays and to practice SunSense when outdoors in the sun. Each package comes enclosed with SunSense tips.

    The Teaching Guides above include lesson plan activities using the UV Bracelets.

    Available to order with registration.
      Fortune Teller

    The fortune teller, sometimes called a chatterbox, uses origami to create a trivia game with questions about SunSense practices.

    Available to order with registration.

    For any questions, please contact the SunSense program lead at the Canadian Cancer Society at:

  • Videos

    Videos can be a great tool to educate and share information. Below are videos that can be used alone or as part of a SunSense lesson plan.

      Slip, Slap, Slop, Seek, Slide - Sid the Seagull

    Sid the Seagull shares a fun and catchy song to help remember the 5 S' of SunSense.

    Source: Cancer Council of Victoria

    Watch the video


    This video is a great resource to share with parents. has tips for families to protect their skin from the sun, and fun stuff and activities for kids.

    #newfamilyrule is a joint initiative of the David Cornfield Melanoma Fund & the Douglas Wright Foundation. 


    Why Shade Matters

    This video highlights the importance of shade and provides insights on shade design and planning.

    Developed by the Shade Working Group of Waterloo, Canadian Cancer Society and Evergreen (2016)

    Watch the video

    Screen Me Sun Safety Sing-a-Long

    A fun tool for teaching children about sun safety and how to apply sunscreen.

    Source: Melanoma Network of Canada

    Watch the Video

  • Documents for registered schools

    To become SunSense Certified, each school must complete and submit two reports to the Canadian Cancer Society. These reports can be found below as well as additional tools to help you in planning and meeting your goals.

    Progress Report: Due February 12, 2021

    Final Report: Due June 11, 2021

    Letter of Support
    Planning Worksheet Checklist of Current Practices
    Progress Report Form
    Final Report Form
    Certification Guide
  • Practice SunSense

    While the cause of many cancers remains unknown, the reason for this most common cancer is too many sunburns and too much UVR exposure over many years. 1 in 7 people will be diagnosed with skin cancer in their lifetime; however, we know that this disease is largely preventable. People under the age of 18 are at the highest risk. Children and youth spend more time outside than adults do - in fact, 80% of people's exposure to UVR occurs before the age of 18.

    Use your SunSense to protect yourself from harmful UV rays by practicing the 5 S':

    Learn more about being sun safe and test how sun savvy you are by visiting