Rapid Fire Session 2014 World Cancer Congress

Enhancing access to estimates of occupational and environmental carcinogen exposure: CAREX Canada’s knowledge translation programme (#411)

Alison L Palmer 1 , Joanne Telfer 1 , Calvin B Ge 1 , Karla Poplawski 2 , Cheryl E Peters 3 , Anne-Marie Nicol 1 , Paul A Demers 4
  1. Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC, Canada
  2. Department of Geography, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC, Canada
  3. School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
  4. Occupational Cancer Research Centre, Toronto, ON, Canada

Background and Context:

CAREX Canada is a national surveillance project that estimates the number of Canadians exposed to known or suspected carcinogens in workplace and community environments.


The project aims to support those looking to better understand – and help reduce or eliminate – these exposures. This involves collaborating with research, policy, and program specialists working at federal or provincial government ministries or agencies, professional groups, and labour organizations. 


Using a knowledge translation and exchange approach, we have tailored our support for each audience based on their reported needs. One of the key strategies of this approach is developing knowledge products called summary packages that present custom snapshots of CAREX Canada’s estimates of exposures to carcinogens and highlight ways that these estimates can be used to help set priorities for cancer prevention.

Programme/Policy Process:

CAREX Canada has produced occupational summary packages by industry, occupation, jurisdiction, and cancer site (e.g. wood product manufacturing, welders, British Columbia, lung carcinogens), as well as environmental summary packages by exposure pathway, population, and jurisdiction (e.g. indoor air, outdoor air, First Nations, and Quebec). 

Outcomes/What was learned: 

Interview surveys with target audiences across the country show that these tailored knowledge products are a useful and accessible means to support cancer prevention research, programs, and policies. Respondents reported intent to use them for outreach and education efforts, as well as for informing stakeholders and decision-makers about priority carcinogen exposures. Many expressed interest in adapting them to incorporate exposure reduction recommendations for their own audiences. For example,  provincial regulatory agencies are co-developing educational packages for workers that aim to reduce exposures in the construction industry. This is one of many ways that the CAREX Canada project is enhancing access to exposure estimates, and helping to apply what we know about exposures to cancer prevention efforts.