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Seeking shade is part of a comprehensive and sustainable approach to sun protection. In addition to providing sun protection, natural shade also provides other health, social, and environmental benefits.

For shade to be effective, it is necessary to provide shade protection in all the environments within the community setting including, sporting, recreational and work areas as well as at temporary outdoor events. Outdoor spaces are often designed without sun protection in mind – or it may be a lack in understanding of shade principles (e.g. planning for shade where and when it’s required, where the shadow casting will fall, etc.).​

In order to ensure an organization formally commits to maintaining and increasing shade coverage, it is recommended that a shade policy be adopted. A shade policy ensures that sun protection measures (such as shade) will be followed and considered in everything from site design to everyday practice. A shade policy can state that the provision of shade should be an essential element when planning, developing or refurbishing facilities.

Shade plays an important role in creating a healthier, happier, and safer community. But shade does not just happen. It requires policymakers, municipal staff, businesses, employers, education facilities, community groups and people to work together to increase shade in the community.


Use the following resources to start or enhance your own shade strategy.




April 2019

George Thomas Kapelos: “Interactive architecture – UV protection unfolding above you!” Perspectives | The Arts, The Lancet Oncology, April 2019

December 2018

Dawn M. Holman, George Thomas Kapelos, Meredith Shoemaker, Meg Watson, “Shade as an Environmental Design Tool for Skin Cancer Prevention”, American Journal of Public Health 108, no. 12 (December 1, 2018): pp. 1607-1612.

Shade Policy Planning:

Putting Down Roots for the Future: 20-year strategic Urban Forest Management Plan (UFMP) for the City of Ottawa. 2018-37.

Shade Policy Fact Sheet - Shade Work Group of Waterloo Region, Region of Waterloo, Evergreen & Canadian Cancer Society
Planning for shade - Shade policy development: Ontario Planning Journal Article (2013)

Shade Policy Framework - SunSmart

Creating Shade at Public Facilities - Policy and Guidelines for Local Government Second Edition (Queensland Government)

Toronto Cancer Prevention Coalition - Ultraviolet Radiation and Shade Working Group - website

Shade Matters website

Shade for Kids. A Policy Primer for School Boards - Evergreen


Shade policy examples:

City of Toronto Shade Guidelines

Partners in Action - Shade Policy video  -Toronto Public Health Partners In Action

City of Cambridge Urban Forest Plan 2015-2034

Sun Safety and Shading Policy - Waterloo Region District School Board

Design Guidelines for K-12 Outdoor Play and Learning Environments - Waterloo Region District School Board and Evergreen

Assessing, planning, and implementing of shade:

The Public Health Value of Urban Trees and Green Spaces - Ottawa Public Health

Benefits of trees and green spaces in our cities - Ottawa Public Health

Shade Audit Information Guide + Tool. A  Guide for Creating Shady Outdoor Spaces - Shade Work Group of Waterloo Region

Shade Design Fact Sheet - Shade Work Group of Waterloo Region, Region of Waterloo, Evergreen & Canadian Cancer Society

Shade Tree List - Shade Work Group of Waterloo Region and Region of Waterloo

Shade: A Planning Guide - York Region


June 2016: Video about shade development from Region of Waterloo Shade Working Group, Ontario, Canada:

Have a resource to share, please Contact Us!

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