Films that are theatrically released are classified by provincial classification boards or other provincial authorities. Each board or authority reviews the film and provides a rating based on the criteria applicable in that province or adopts the ratings provided from another province.
Rating criteria vary slightly from province to province and are specifically detailed on the website of each provincial classification board or authority.
Provincial Classification Boards and Authorities
In Canada, ratings for theatrically released films are a matter of provincial and territorial responsibility. There are a total of seven provincial film classification boards and authorities in Canada (although some provinces adopt the ratings from other provinces or have delegated classification responsibility to other provinces).
All classification boards and authorities screen and assign ratings and information pieces to films that are released in theatres. Some boards and authorities also rate home entertainment products and adult films. All boards and authorities also licence distributors and theatres, while some boards and authorities also licence retailers.
All films exhibited in theatres must be classified by Consumer Protection BC.
Consumer Protection BC does not require the classification of general release (non-adult) home videos sold or rented in British Columbia but licensed distributors may submit general release home videos for classification on a voluntary basis.
Through agreements with the governments of Saskatchewan and Manitoba, Consumer Protection BC provides film classification services for these provinces.
All films exhibited in theatres and distributed in Saskatchewan must be classified.
Through an agreement between the governments of British Columbia and Saskatchewan, Consumer Protection BC provides classification services for films shown in theatres in Saskatchewan.
Home videos distributed in Saskatchewan must bear a classification rating. Saskatchewan accepts Canadian Home Video Rating System (CHVRS) ratings for this purpose.
All films that are to be exhibited in theatres must be classified by Alberta Film Classification office.
Alberta Film Classification does not classify television programs, home video, or internet content.
The Northwest Territories and Nunavut require that films exhibited in theatres to be classified but these territories adopt the ratings from Alberta (the Yukon does not maintain a film and video classification system).
All films that are to be exhibited in theatres and distributed in Manitoba must be classified.
Through an agreement between the governments of British Columbia and Manitoba, Consumer Protection BC provides classification services for films shown in theatres in Manitoba.
Home videos distributed in Manitoba must bear a classification rating. Manitoba accepts Canadian Home Video Rating System (CHVRS) ratings for this purpose.
All films that are to be exhibited in theatres or distributed in the home entertainment market must be classified.
Ontario recently amended its regulation to accept classifications from Consumer Protection BC and entered into an agreement with Consumer Protection BC for this purpose.
The Government of Ontario is also currently undergoing a public consultation on how to modernize Ontario’s Film Classification Act, 2005.
All motion pictures that are to be exhibited in theatres and all direct-to-home entertainment releases (with some defined exceptions) must be viewed and classified by the Ministry of Culture and Communications (MCC).
The ratings used by the MCC for theatrical and home entertainment releases are different from other provinces in Canada and the Canadian Home Video Rating System.
The MCC also licenses distributors, exhibitors and retailers who sell and rent home entertainment products in Quebec and requires that a special sticker appear on all home entertainment products.
Quebec does not participate in the Canadian Home Video Rating System.
All motion pictures that are to be exhibited in theaters and all direct-to-home entertainment releases (with some defined exceptions) in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island must be classified by the Maritime Film Classification Board (MFCB), which is administered by the Nova Scotia Alcohol and Gaming Authority.
(Newfoundland and Labrador does not maintain a film and video classification system.)
The Canadian Home Video Rating System (CHVRS) is a voluntary system administered by the Motion Picture Classification Corporation of Canada (MPCCC), which provides classification information for discs (Blu-ray, DVDs) that are distributed in the home entertainment market in Canada (outside Quebec). Ratings provided by provincial classification boards and agencies are aggregated to provide a uniform CHVRS rating that can be used by distributors in the Canadian home entertainment market.
The CHVRS came into effect in May 1995 based on input from Canadian industry members, the Motion Picture Association – Canada, and provincial classification boards (outside of Quebec). Film classifications from Quebec are NOT part of the CHVRS and are administered by the Quebec Minister of Culture and Communications.
Through the use of a standardized rating system and recognizable classification symbols, the CHVRS has become a valuable resource for helping Canadian consumers choose which products to view, rent and purchase.
Click here to access CHRVS: