Theatrical Classification

    Theatrical releases are classified by the Provincial Classification Boards authorized by the Province. Each Board reviews the motion picture and provides a rating based on the criteria applicable in that province.

    Rating criteria vary slightly from province to province, and are specifically detailed on each Provincial classification Boards website.

    Provincial 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 motion pictures that are released in theatres. Some Boards also rate home entertainment product and adult films.  All boards also licence distributors and theatres, while some boards also licence retailers.

    • British Columbia

      All motion pictures that are to be exhibited in theatres must be viewed and classified by Consumer Protection BC. All adult films must also be screened and approved by the Office before distribution. However, direct-to-home entertainment releases (except for adult films) do not have to be submitted.

      Consumer Protection BC also classifies films and adult videos for the province of Saskatchewan and the Yukon.

      For home entertainment releases, British Columbia participates in the Canadian Home Video Rating System.

    • Saskatchewan

      The Saskatchewan Film and Video Classification Board classifies motion pictures and adult videos for the province of Saskatchewan.

      For home entertainment releases, Saskatchewan participates in the Canadian Home Video Rating System.

    • Alberta

      All motion pictures that are to be exhibited in theatres must be viewed and classified by the Alberta Film Classification Board. Direct-to-home entertainment releases, including adult videos, do not have to be submitted to the Board.

      Alberta also classifies motion pictures for the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.

      For home entertainment releases, Alberta participates in the Canadian Home Video Rating System.

    • Manitoba

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

      For home entertainment releases, Manitoba participates in the Canadian Home Video Rating System.

    • Ontario

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

      For home entertainment releases, Ontario participates in the Canadian Home Video Rating System.

    • Quebec

      All motion pictures that are to be exhibited in theatres, all direct-to-home entertainment releases (with some defined exceptions), and all adult 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 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

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

      For home entertainment releases, the Maritime Film Classification Board participates in the Canadian Home Video Rating System.

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