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Film Classification Boards

In Canada, theatrical movie ratings are a provincial and territorial responsibility. There are a total of seven provincial film classification boards or offices.

All classification boards screen and assign ratings and information pieces to all films that are released in theatres. All boards, with the exception of Quebec, now have a similar ratings system as the Canadian Home Video Rating System. All boards licence distributors and theatres, while some boards also licence retailers.

 

British Columbia (www.BPCPA.ca)

All films that are to be exhibited in theatres must be viewed and classified by the Business Practices and Consumer Protection Authority (“BPCPA”). All explicit sex films must also be screened and approved by the Office before distribution. However, direct-to-home entertainment releases (except for explicit sex product) do not have to be submitted. The Office does investigate consumer complaints for all non-screened products.

The BPCPA also classifies films and explicit sex videos for the province of Saskatchewan and the Yukon.

The ratings used by the BPCPA for theatrical releases are identical to the Canadian Home Video Rating System. The Office assigns such a rating plus advisories such as “Coarse Language” and “Violence”. The rating and advisories must appear in theatrical-release advertising.

British Columbia participates in the Canadian Home Video Rating System.

 

Saskatchewan (http://www.justice.gov.sk.ca/filmandvideoclassification)

The B.C. Business Practices and Consumer Protection Authority classifies films and explicit sex videos for the province of Saskatchewan.

Saskatchewan has its own provincial legislation and continues to regulate the exhibition and distribution of films including the licensing of retail video stores provincially.

Saskatchewan participates in the Canadian Home Video Rating System.

 

Alberta (www.albertafilmratings.ca)

All films that are to be exhibited in theatres must be viewed and classified by the Alberta Film Classification Board. Direct-to-home entertainment releases, including explicit sex video, do not have to be submitted to the Board. The Board does investigate consumer complaints for all non-screened products.

Alberta also classifies films for the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.

The ratings use by the Alberta Film Classification Board for theatrical releases are identical to the Canadian Home Video Rating System.

The Board assigns such a rating plus advisories such as “Coarse Language” and “Violence”. The rating and advisories must appear in theatrical-release advertising.

Alberta participates in the Canadian Home Video Rating System.

 

Manitoba (www.gov.mb.ca/chc/mfcb/)

All films that are to be exhibited in theatres, all direct-to-home entertainment releases (with some defined exceptions), and all explicit sex films must be viewed and classified by the Manitoba Film Classification Board.

The ratings used by the Manitoba Film Classification Board for theatrical and video releases are similar to the Canadian Home Video Rating System. The Board assigns such a rating plus advisories such as “Coarse Language” and “Violence”. The rating and advisories must appear in theatrical-release advertising.

Manitoba participates in the Canadian Home Video Rating System.

 

Ontario (http://www.ofrb.gov.on.ca/english/default.htm)

All films that are to be exhibited in theatres, all direct-to-home entertainment releases (with some defined exceptions), and all explicit sex films must be viewed and classified by the Ontario Film Review Board.

The ratings used by the Ontario Film Review Board for theatrical and home entertainment releases are identical to the Canadian Home Video Rating System. The Board assigns such a rating plus advisories such as “Coarse Language” and “Violence”. The rating and advisories must appear in theatrical-release advertising.

Ontario participates in the Canadian Home Video Rating System.

Quebec (www.rcq.qc.ca)

All films that are to be exhibited in theatres, all direct-to-home entertainment releases (with some defined exceptions), and all explicit sex films must be viewed and classified by the Régie du Cinéma.

The ratings used by the Régie du Cinéma for theatrical and home entertainment releases are different from the Canadian Home Video Rating System. The Board assigns such a rating plus advisories such as “Coarse Language” and “Violence”. The rating and advisories must appear in theatrical-release advertising.

The Régie du Cinéma also gives permits to distributors, cinema owners and retailers who sell and rent home entertainment materials in the province of Quebec. It also requires that a special sticker appear on all home entertainment products. Finally, the Régie du Cinema controls the distribution rights of cinematographic works and ensures that copyright is respected.

Quebec does not participate in the Canadian Home Video Rating System.

Maritimes (http://www.gov.ns.ca/lwd/agd/film/)

All films that are to be exhibited in theatres, all direct-to-home entertainment releases (with some defined exceptions), and all explicit sex films distributed in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island must be viewed and classified by the Maritime Film Classification Board.

The classification of films is administered by the government of Nova Scotia. The ratings used by the Maritime Film Classification Board for theatrical and home entertainment releases are identical to the Canadian Home Video Rating System. The Board assigns such a rating plus advisories such as “Coarse Language” and “Violence”. The rating and advisories must appear in theatrical-release advertising.

All three provinces continue to have their own acts and regulations to regulate and enforce the exhibition and distribution of films and home entertainment and to licence theatres and retail video stores provincially.

The Maritime Film Classification Board participates in the Canadian Home Video Rating System.

(Newfoundland and Labrador does not maintain a film and video classification system.)