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Ontario Taking Action to Help Protect Youth from Cancer

News Release

Ontario Taking Action to Help Protect Youth from Cancer

New Ontario Government Introducing Ban on Tanning Beds for Youth Under 18

Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

The new Ontario government is taking action to help prevent skin cancer among young people by proposing legislation to ban those under 18 from using tanning beds.

The legislation, to be introduced later today, would, if passed:

  • Prohibit the sale of tanning services to youth under 18
  • Require tanning bed operators to request identification from anyone who appears under 25
  • Ban advertising and marketing of tanning services targeted at youth under 18 
  • Require tanning bed operators to post signs about the ban and the health risks associated with the use of tanning beds
  • Set fines for tanning bed operators who fail to comply with the legislation
  • Authorize inspectors to inspect and enforce these requirements
Protecting young people from harmful ultraviolet radiation supports the new Ontario government's commitment to keep the province healthy and is part of Ontario's Action Plan for Health Care.   

Quick Facts

  • The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer reports that the risk of skin cancer — particularly melanoma — increases by 75 per cent when tanning beds are used prior to the age of 35.
  • The World Health Organization has classified tanning beds in its highest cancer risk category, along with asbestos and tobacco.
  • The incidence of melanoma in Ontario has been rising in youth and young adults (ages 15-34) — especially among females aged 25-34.
  • Six provinces have either introduced or implemented legislation restricting tanning bed use by youth, ranging from outright bans (Quebec, British Columbia, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland) to parental consent (Manitoba).
  • A number of countries also have legislation restricting or prohibiting tanning bed use by youth (Britain, Iceland, Finland, Portugal, Norway, Scotland, Spain, Sweden and France).

Background Information

Additional Resources


Deb Matthews

“We know that early exposure to ultraviolet radiation from tanning beds puts our youth at an increased risk of melanomas, which are the deadliest form of skin cancer. By working together to ban tanning for minors, we are protecting the health of our young people and helping to prevent skin cancer.”

Deb Matthews

Minister of Health and Long-Term Care

“At 21 years old, I was diagnosed with skin cancer. I’m 22 now and living with the reality that I’ve wrecked my health because I used indoor tanning beds as a teen. The disease has scarred my body and continues to wreak havoc with my health, which is why I cannot be at Queen’s Park today to celebrate the introduction of this indoor tanning bill. I want to stop every 16 year old from using indoor tanning beds so I started volunteering with the Canadian Cancer Society in 2012 to take action on this issue. A year later, thanks to the efforts of many, this dream will hopefully become a reality when this legislation becomes law.”

Kate Neale

melanoma survivor and Canadian Cancer Society volunteer

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Government Health and Wellness