Priorities, targets and actions in the plan to eliminate cervical cancer

Learn how Canada is taking action to eliminate cervical cancer

If the targets set out in the Action Plan for HPV immunization, HPV primary screening and follow-up of abnormal screening results are achieved, Canada will meet its goal to eliminate cervical cancer by 2040. These targets are organized by priorities.

Priority 1: Improve HPV immunization rates

Nearly all cases of cervical cancer are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), a common sexually transmitted infection.

HPV immunization is a safe and effective public health measure for reducing the spread of HPV. One of the best things we can do for women’s health is to boost immunization rates to ensure the next generation of Canadian women are cervical cancer-free.
-Anne Pham-Huy, MD, Chair, Immunize Canada

Target: By 2025, 90 per cent of 17-year-olds are fully vaccinated with the HPV vaccine

Action 1: Increase awareness and acceptability of the HPV vaccine

Action 2: Increase vaccination uptake in school-based HPV immunization programs

Action 3: Improve measurement and reporting of vaccination coverage rates by school-based HPV immunization programs to identify inequities and inform program improvements

Learn more about HPV immunization policies in Canada.

Priority 2: Implement HPV primary screening

HPV tests can now detect the presence of high-risk HPV types in cervical cells and have proven more effective than Pap tests in reducing rates of cervical pre-cancers.

Every woman in Canada who is screened for cervical cancer will benefit when we shift from Pap tests to HPV tests. HPV testing is a more accurate tool for detecting pre-cancerous lesions and when the result is negative, providing women with greater assurance that they will not develop pre-cancer in the next few years.
-Dr. Gina Ogilvie, Professor, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia


  • By 2030, 90 per cent of eligible individuals have been screened with an HPV test
  • By 2030, 90 per cent of eligible individuals are up to date with cervical screening
  • By 2030, no less than 80 per cent of eligible individuals in any identifiable group are up to date with cervical screening

Action 1: Implement HPV primary screening within organized screening programs across Canada

Action 2: Ensure equity in cervical screening participation

Action 3: Implement HPV self-sampling in cervical screening programs

Action 4: Collect and report on aggregate data on cervical screening and use data for program improvement

Learn more about HPV primary screening in Canada and abroad.

Priority 3: Improve follow-up of abnormal screening results

When cervical screening detects abnormal or pre-cancerous cells, timely and appropriate follow-up is critical to treat these pre-cancers and prevent the development of cervical cancer.

From the time that I went to see my doctor, to doing some tests, figuring things out, waiting, and actually getting in to see a gynecologist, to deciding on what was going to happen, to having the hysterectomy… it was a year and a half. This was a very long process.
-Katherine, Cervical cancer survivor


  • By 2030, 90 per cent of all individuals with an abnormal screening result (positive HPV test) should have a clear plan of appropriate follow-up designed and communicated to them within three months of the test that generated the positive result
  • By 2030, 90 per cent of all individuals identified as being at elevated risk for significant cervical abnormalities have colposcopy in a timely manner
  • By 2030, no less than 90 per cent of individuals in any identifiable group receive follow-up

Action 1: Standardize timely and appropriate follow-up of abnormal screening results (positive HPV tests)

Action 2: Provide equitable access to, and uptake of, follow-up services for abnormal screening results

Action 3: Collect and report aggregate data on patient follow-up and use it to inform program improvement

Learn more about following up on abnormal screen results in this environmental scan.

Learn more

Read quotes from our partners supporting the elimination of cervical cancer in Canada by 2040.

Read the media release (February 2020) Canada acts to meet WHO Call to eliminate cervical cancer.

Read the statement of support (November 2020) Statement from Cynthia Morton, CEO, Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, in support of the World Health Organization’s official launch of the cervical cancer elimination strategy.