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Film Classification In Ontario

Archived Backgrounder

Film Classification In Ontario

Ministry of Consumer Services

Film Classification Act, 2005

• The Film Classification Act, 2005 (FCA) regulates the sale and public exhibition of films and video games.

• The FCA authorizes the Ontario Film Review Board (OFRB) to do the classification and classification/approval of most films.

• The FCA requires that most films must be classified before being exhibited or distributed in Ontario.

• The OFRB classifies films according to age-appropriateness using the following classification categories set out in regulations under the Act:

General - the film is appropriate for viewing by a person of any age
Parental Guidance - parents should exercise discretion in permitting a child to view the film
14A - the film shall not be exhibited except to persons 14 years of age or older or to persons younger than 14 years of age who are accompanied by an adult
18A - the film shall not be distributed to persons younger than 18 years of age and shall not be exhibited to persons younger than 18 years of age unless accompanied by an adult.
Restricted - the film shall not be distributed or exhibited except to persons 18 years of age or older.

• The OFRB is a community board, and its 19 members represent a cross-section of the many diverse communities across Ontario.

Video Games

• By regulation under the FCA, the government has adopted the ratings issued by the industry-based Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) for video games sold or rented in Ontario.

• However, when there is a request for reconsideration of the classification from the public that the Director of the Consumer Protection Branch at the Ministry of Consumer Services believes is necessary, OFRB will reconsider the original classification.

• The ESRB rates video games into one of the following age-based categories:

• Early Childhood (Ages 3 and up)
• Everyone (Ages 6 and up)
• Everyone 10+ (Ages 10 and up)
• Teen (Ages 13 and up)
• Mature (Ages 17 and up)
• Adults Only (Ages 18 and up).

• The FCA contains restrictions related to the "Mature" and "Adults Only" rated games prohibiting retailers from selling or renting video games in these categories to minors (under 18 for AO and under 17 for M games.)

Additional Resources

Media Contacts



Arts and Culture Government