History of the Program


HPV was identified as the cause of cervical cancer. As a result of this discovery, work was undertaken to develop a HPV vaccine and lasted many years. 


A first vaccine against four types of HPV was approved for use in Canada and other countries. Before it was approved, the vaccine was tested on over 43 000 women in many parts of the world.  


A vaccine against two types of HPV was approved. 


The HPV Vaccination Program was launched. Under the program, girls in Grade 4 of primary school are vaccinated free of charge.  

A catch-up program was launched. Under this program, girls under 18 years of age could also get vaccinated free of charge at school (Secondary 3) or at their CLSC.


Two other client groups were included in the program:

  • Women aged 26 or younger who have a weakened immune system
  • Women aged 26 or younger infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)

The HPV vaccine Gardasil® was approved for men. 


The catch-up program for girls in Secondary 3 was completed. However, vaccination continued to be offered to non-vaccinated girls when their vaccination record was updated.


Two other client groups were included in the program:

  • Men aged 26 or younger infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
  • Men aged 26 or younger who have or who intend to have sex with men


A vaccine against nine types of HPV was approved.


Boys in Grade 4 of primary school were added to the free vaccination program. This decision was based on scientific data and studies which showed that:

  • The consequences of HPV infection in men were greater than was previously thought
  • Vaccination in men is safe and effective

Another client group was included in the program, namely, men aged 26 or younger who have a weakened immune system.


71 countries introduced the HPV vaccine into their immunization schedule for girls, while 11 countries also offered HPV vaccination to boys. 

All Canadian provinces have a free school-based HPV vaccination program for girls and boys. The procedure for getting vaccinated and the eligibility criteria may, however, vary across provinces.


The HPV Vaccination Program includes one dose of Gardasil® 9 followed, 6 months later, by one dose of Cervarix®.

An HPV immunization status update was added for boys in Secondary 3.


Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, in Spring 2020 school-based vaccination was suspended in many Québec schools.

At the request of the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux du Québec, provincial experts have evaluated the best strategies to resume vaccination in schools. The school-based vaccination program has been reviewed, based on the experts’ recommendations.

Since September 2020, the HPV vaccination program has provided for one dose of Gardasil® 9 in Grade 4 of primary school, followed 60 months later by one dose of Cervarix® in Secondary 3.