Catholic Board Under Fire for Policy on HPV Vaccine Distribution

BY Teresa Pierre
TORONTO, October 9, 2013

Catholic Board Under Fire for Policy on HPV Vaccine Distribution
        The Halton Catholic District School Board is experiencing heated pressure to offer the HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine at schools, according to an article in the Burlington Post on Oct. 4.  The same theme is playing out elsewhere in Alberta, where the chair of the ironically named Medicine Hat Catholic board has claimed he is being harassed by a not-for-profit group called HPV Canada.

        Halton Catholic bans distribution of the HPV vaccine because it believes young people should be directed to treat sexual activity as a gift reserved for marriage.  Offering the HPV shot as though sexual activity is a foregone conclusion pretty much wipes this goal off the screen.  Bishop Fred Henry said in a widely-read letter on the subject released in 2012 that in order to be internally consistent, Catholic educators: 'do not want to send any mixed signals about pre-marital sexual activity.' 

        In 2012 the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario took the same stand as Bishop Henry when the point was debated in the Toronto Catholic Board. According to an article in Inside Toronto, the bishops said at the time, "Sexual activity is appropriate only within marriage," the letter reads. "Outside of marriage, abstinence is not only clearly the choice that leads to spiritual and moral well-being, but it is obviously the best protection against risks of the disease."  

        Discussions in the media have typically shown little regard for the Church's position, as in the headline in the National Post's editorial section Oct. 8 that claimed the Alberta board was putting "ideology before kids."  No mention that these leaders might have the backing of thousands of parents who believe they are offering their children a wholistic approach to life that benefits both the body and the mind.  The parents of the Halton Board have yet to be consulted on the policy changes and in the interest of transparency and accountability Parents As First Educators has created a petition to bring parental support for the current Halton HPV vaccine policy to the attention of Trustees.

        We are asking ratepayers two favours: 


1) Sign the Petition!


               Let's send the Catholic Trustees of the Halton Catholic Board a strong message of support!  A petition is                                  now open demanding Trustees vote "no" to lifting the ban on the HPV vaccine!  Please sign the petition                                    and pass it on to your friends.  For detailed instructions on how to sign the petition, click here:                     


2) Write to your Trustee and tell them you don't support the HPV vaccine being offered in 
Catholic schools:

Diane Rabenda (Milton)                         905-632-6314 x. 7185
Arlene Iantomasi (Burlington 1 &2)     905-632-6314 x. 7182  
Anthony Danko (Oakville)                       905-825-9159            
Alice Lemay (Oakville)                            905-825-9108             
Paul Marai (Oakville)                               905-842-3826             
Jane Michael (Burlington 3 & 6)            905-319-6582            
John Morrison (Burlington 4 & 5)          905-632-6314 x. 7184
John Mark Rowe (Halton Hills)             905-877-9510             
Ed Viana (Oakville)                                  905-845-2761