Skip to main content


Our webinars offer the latest research on cancer prevention topics from experts in the field.

​Designing Cooler Spaces for Sun Safety and Thermal Comfort

May 30, 2024
10:00 am - 12:00 pm PST 
Zoom: Register
By the end of this session, you will be able to:
  • Explain the impact of UV radiation, sun exposure and increase in temperature on skin cancer and general health of children
  • Discuss the importance of sun-safe and thermally comfortable play spaces for preventing skin cancer and heat-related illness
  • Identify factors that contribute to sun-safe and thermally comfortable shade and playground design
  • State the latest research, funding opportunities and different resources/materials available to support sun-safe and thermally comfortable play spaces for children

10:00 am – Welcome

Dr. Michael Schwandt

10:05 am – Impacts of Sun and Heat on Children; Health Canada's Thermally Comfortable Playgrounds 

Dr. Heather Olsen

Playgrounds are a central hub for communities and special places for children. Unfortunately, each year approximately 200,000 children are treated in emergency rooms for playground-related injuries and research has found playgrounds present some of the hottest temperatures. This session will highlight recent research on temperatures and harmful UV radiation which are negatively impacting safe play for children. The charge is to vision a more holistic view of playground safety including creating spaces which keep children not only safe from play structures but also environmental factors. Information will be shared about a partnership with the Standards Council of Canada, Health Canada, CSA group, and a thermal comfort task force in the development of a technical report and adopted SCC annex. In closing, the presentation will highlight sun safety and playground projects for future initiatives. 

10:20 am – BC Cancer, Sun Safe BC and Cool Playground Studies 

Breann Corcoran

In her presentation, Breann will provide local context on skin cancer prevention efforts in BC, describe the work of Sun Safe BC and its Shade Working Group, and share the results from recent studies, Cool Playgrounds 1.0 and Cool Playgrounds 2.0, which examine the role of playground shade in sun safety, thermal comfort, and outdoor play behaviours in young children.

10:35 am – Shade Equity Study: Conducting Shade Audits with Remote Sensing

Dr. Cheryl Peters

10:50 am – Q&A  

All panelists 

11:05 am – Stretch Break 

11:10 am – Case Study: Township of Langley Cool Parks Project  

Jaqueline Lowe

11:25 am – Natural Shade and Dappled Light: Intro to Shade Toolkit 

Susan Herrington

The planting of trees, shrubs, and vines can provide natural shade and dappled light for sun protection. Plants also contribute a wide range of ecological, cultural, and emotional benefits in addition to sun protection. This presentation will share these important contributions made by natural shade. It will also recommend some of the best plants to use in British Columbia as identified by graduate students in UBC’s Landscape Architecture Program for BC Cancer’s Shade Lookbook.

11:40 am – Q&A 

11:55 am – Closing Comments  

Dr. Michael Schwandt


Dr. Michael Schwandt, Medical Health Officer
Vancouver Coastal Health

Dr. Michael Schwandt is a Medical Health Officer with Vancouver Coastal Health and a Clinical Associate Professor in the UBC School of Population and Public Health. Dr. Schwandt partners with researchers, government, and community-based organizations to protect and promote health at the population level, and provides leadership in areas including healthy built environments, climate change adaptation and emergency preparedness. He keenly applies a commitment to health equity throughout his practice.


Dr. Heather Olsen, Professor
Department of Recreation, Tourism and Youth Leisure, University of Northern Iowa 

Dr. Heather Olsen is a nationally known educator and researcher who has been involved with the promotion of quality safe play environments for children for 25 years. She began her academic career in leisure, youth, and human services at the University of Northern Iowa where she now holds the position of Full Professor in the Department of Recreation, Tourism and Youth Leisure.

Dr. Olsen’s scholarship has concentrated on playground safety research, child injury and risk assessment, advocacy, and curriculum and instructional delivery. Dr. Olsen served as a principal investigator for the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission sponsored study to assess the safety status of U.S. playgrounds for a variety of risk factors. In addition, she spearheaded a team of leading researchers, scientists, educators, and students for Public Health Canada and the Standards Council of Canada to develop contextual knowledge on the issue of thermal comfort, as it relates to young children. The Canada Playground Standard (CAN/CSA Z614) has adopted the research in an informational annex on thermal comfort and playgrounds. Dr. Olsen has also translated her research into user-friendly terms by developing on-line playground safety certification courses, educational manuals, and guides. During the last 20 years, she has served as a principal investigator for the US Department of Defense along with trainings and studies for numerous public and private entities.

Dr. Olsen also serves as the Executive Director of the National Program for Play Area Safety, a global nonprofit organization, bridging the gap between cutting edge research and information about children’s play spaces and safety for governmental agencies, industry, nonprofits, youth-serving agencies, and the public. Her scholarship has been disseminated across numerous agencies, such as ASTM International, National Health and Safety Performance Standards, Healthy Child Care Head Start Association, Pediatrics, State Safe Kids Coalitions, Canadian Standards Council, CSA Group, Children’s Safety Network, Agritourism Advisory, the Bilateral Americas International for Harmonization of Playground Standards, and National Association of the Education of Young Children.

Breann Corcoran, Health Promotions Specialist, PhD Candidate 
BC Cancer Prevention & Screening, UBC School of Population and Public Health  

Breann Corcoran is a population health leader with over 15 years of experience working with local health authorities.  In her current role as a Health Promotions Specialist with BC Cancer Prevention & Screening, Breann leads Sun Safe BC, a provincial network of academics, health, non-profit and patient partners working collaboratively to reduce exposure to UV radiation among British Columbians. She is also pursuing a PhD with UBC’s School of Population and Public Health and her research focuses on the impact of UV radiation and heat on children’s health and development. She has led a number of research studies to evaluate shade as an environmental design solution for skin cancer prevention and to support active outdoor play in early childhood settings.

Dr. Cheryl Peters, Senior Scientist 
BC CDC and BC Cancer 

Dr. Peters holds a BSc in earth sciences and geography from the University of Victoria, and an MSc (occupational and environmental hygiene) and PhD (epidemiology) from the University of British Columbia. She completed a CIHR postdoctoral fellowship in men’s occupational health at Carleton University in Ottawa. From 2018-2022, Dr. Peters was a research scientist in the Department of Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention Research at Alberta Health Services. She has been involved with the CAREX Canada research program since 2007, which she now leads as the principal investigator. In 2021, Dr. Peters joined the Monographs Program of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), where she served as a visiting consulting scientist. She is the co-chair of the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee of the Charbonneau Cancer Research Institute at the University of Calgary, and the communications director and a board member for the Canadian Association for Research on Work and Health. She also co-chairs the Sun Safety at Work Canada Working Group, and has participated as an expert Working Group member for IARC’s Monographs Program. 


Jacqueline Lowe, Project Manager
Parks Design & Development, Township of Langley

Jacqueline is a Registered Landscape Architect with 17 years experience of leading Landscape Architecture projects across the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley and Vancouver Island. Her project focus is broad and has included parks, trails and infrastructure, seniors and community housing projects, masterplanning and institutional design. Since joining the Township of Langley in 2022, Jacqueline has been leading projects in the Parks, Design and Development department which is part of the Facilities and Corporate Projects Team.

Susan Herrington, Professor
UBC School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture

Susan is a professor at UBC’s School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (SALA). She is also a Landscape Architect in British Columbia, and a registered Landscape Architect in the United States. For the past 25 years she has been consulting on children’s outdoor play spaces in Canada, and internationally. She has helped parents, design professionals, school boards, childcare operators, licensing officers, governmental agencies, and community groups to realize play spaces that incorporate natural elements and offer safe, risky play opportunities in creative, inexpensive ways. Susan’s design recommendations for outdoor play environments, the Seven Cs guidelines, have been used globally. With the support of BC Cancer, Susan and SALA students designed and installed shade elements at Vancouver child care centres in 2021 as part of the PRO ECO project. 

Help spread the word about this webinar by sharing this flyer

SOURCE: Webinars ( )
Page printed: . Unofficial document if printed. Please refer to SOURCE for latest information.

Copyright © Provincial Health Services Authority. All Rights Reserved.

    Copyright © 2024 Provincial Health Services Authority