Government of Saskatchewan
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Saturday, September 23, 2017
Financial and Consumer Affairs Authority

Unless otherwise exempted by the legislation, all films and videos distributed, rented, sold or publicly exhibited in Saskatchewan, must be rated or classified in one of the following categories: (section 9; regulation 8)

• General (G);
• Parental Guidance (PG);
• 14 years of age or older or under 14 if accompanied by an adult (14A);
• 18 years of age or older or under 18 if accompanied by an adult (18A);
• Restricted (R); and
• Adult (A).

In addition, each film is required to list required informational advisories such as: not recommended for children, mature theme, language may offend, coarse language, crude content, violence, brutal violence, sexual violence, nudity, sexual content, gory scenes, frightening scenes, disturbing content, or substance abuse. (section 6, regulation 16)

Every exhibitor, distributor on all advertising, at all public exhibitions, and at the theatre box office must display information that explains the film classification categories using the following associated color coded classification symbols (regulation 8); the informational advisories must also be listed.

Classfication Symbols

 

General (G)
A film is to be classified as General if the contents are considered acceptable for all age groups. Films with this rating are allowed to include: occasional violence, occasional swearing and coarse language, the most innocent of sexually suggestive scenes and nudity. If a film includes any of the above, a warning accompanying the films advertisements may be required.  


Parental Guidance

 

Parental Guidance (PG)
A film is to be classified as Parental Guidance where the themes or content of the film may not be suitable for all children, although there is no age restriction.

14A

 

14A
A film is to be classified as 14A where the film is suitable for viewing by people aged 14 or older. Children under 14 are admitted if accompanied by an adult. Films with this rating may contain: violence, coarse language, and/or sexually suggestive scenes.
Parents Cautioned


18A

 

18A
A film is to be classified as 18A where the film is suitable for viewing by people aged 18 or older -- not for people under age 18 unless accompanied by an adult. Films with this rating will contain: horror, explicit violence, frequent coarse language and sexually suggestive scenes.
Parents Strongly Cautioned 

Restricted

 

Restricted (R)
People under the age of 18 are not granted entrance to Restricted films. Films with a restricted rating contain some or all of the following: sexually explicit scenes, brutal violence, intense horror and/or other disturbing scenes, frequent use of coarse language and swearing.
 

Adult

 

Adult (A)
Admittance to films classified as Adult is restricted to people 18 years and older. The content is not suitable for minors -- contains predominantly sexually explicit activity.

US Film Classification Ratings Comparison

Films in the US are classified by the American ratings body, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).   While these ratings are generally similar they are not the same.  In all cases, the appropriate Saskatchewan rating must be displayed.

Since the US ratings are often advertised in Saskatchewan, the table below provides a comparision of the ratings from the two classification bodies.

Rating Summary

SK

MPAA 

General (G) Suitable for viewing by all ages

G

G

PG - Parental guidance is advised. Theme or content may not be suitable for all children.

PG

PG

14A indicates that persons under 14 must be accompanied by an adult. May contain violence, coarse language, and/or sexually suggestive scenes. Parents Cautioned

The somewhat equivalent US rating is PG -13.  For this category, parents are cautioned that some material may not be suitable for children under the age of 13

14A

PG 13

18A Suitable for viewing by persons 18 years of age or older. Persons under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. May contain explicit violence, frequent coarse language, sexual activity and/or horror

The somewhat equivalent US rating is R.  In the US, patrons under 17 requires accompanying parent or guardian

18A

R

Restricted (R) Admittance restricted to persons 18 years of age and older. Content not suitable for minors. Contains frequent sexual activity, brutal/graphic violence, intense horror and/or other disturbing content

NC-17 No one under 17 admitted

R

NC-17

 

Useful Saskatchewan Film Classification Definitions

Some useful definitions as defined in section 2 of The Film and Video Classification Act are:

(c) “distribution” means retail distribution or wholesale distribution;

(f) “film” means photographic moving picture film or any other means by which moving pictures are displayed and includes video tape, video cassette, video discs or other similar video devices by which moving pictures are shown, projected or displayed;

(m) “theatre” means a building or hall or any premises, room or place, including an open-air place, to which the public is admitted and where film is or is to be shown, projected or displayed;

Getting a Film Classified

In Saskatchewan, the Film Classification Board is responsible for the administration of The Film and Video Classification Act. One legislated requirement is that before a film is exhibited to the public, distributed, rented or sold in Saskatchewan; it must have been classified or exempted pursuant to the Act.

Film Classification is obtained in one of four ways (the exemptions are also listed):

A. Classification through the Film Classification Office of Consumer Protection BC
B. Classification by Documentation
C. Classification by the Saskatchewan Film Classification Board (viewing required)
D. Classification using the Canadian Home Video Rating System (CHVRS), or
E. Exemptions

A. Classification through the Film Classification Office of Consumer Protection BC (who acts as an agent for the Saskatchewan Film Classification Board). (section15.1, regulation 10)

New and previously unclassified box office releases shown in theatres, and all adult videos sold, rented or distributed must use the British Columbia film classification office (who acts as an agent for the Saskatchewan Film Classification Board) to obtain the appropriate rating or classification.

This practice has been in place since 1997, when pursuant to an agreement between the province of British Columbia and Saskatchewan, the British Columbia Film Classification Office was authorized to act as a classification agent for the Saskatchewan Film Classification Board for all new theatrical releases and adult videos.

See agreement here BC/SASK Film Classification Agreement

Other than for adult film, the agreement does not include home-use videos or DVD’s that are distributed, sold and/or rented. In these cases, one of the other classification options must be selected.

To get a film classified under this option contact the B.C. Film Classification Office at:

British Columbia Film Classification Office
200 4946 Canada Way
Burnaby, British Columbia
V5G 4H7
http://www.bcfilmclass.com/
1 888 777-4393

The current classification fee is $440.00 per film title - adult films excluded (regulation 6).

For adult films, there are two fees required:

i) Adult film classification fee see BC Film Classification Fee Schedul
ii) Decal fee - each individual adult video sold or rented must bear an adult decal costing $2.00. These decals are obtained from the British Columbia Film Classification Office who acts as agent for the Saskatchewan Film Classification Board.

B. Classification by Documentation

If the film is not a regular box office release and has already been classified by another approved rating agency, it must still be classified by Saskatchewan (note, classification by documentation is not available for adult only films or for regular box office releases).

Classification by documentation is suitable for films used in repertory theatres, delayed “live events” and for public one-time type exhibitions by groups or organizations. It is also suitable for distributors of retail or rental home-use videos or DVD’s where such were not rated pursuant to the Canadian Home Video Rating System.

To be rated by this option, the distributor or exhibitor must acquire the classification documents from an approved agency (see list below) or from the unbiased reporting source and submit them to the Saskatchewan Film Classification Board (note, the Board may also require the film to be submitted for an actual viewing before a rating is assigned).

Classification by Documentation Instructions

What we need:

• Completion of the attached form or a written request from the organization advising what the name of the film(s) is to be classified, including the location of where the film is going to be shown, as well as the dates of when the film is going to be shown.

Classification by Documentation Kit

• If the film has been classified by another jurisdiction, a copy of the “Summary Report” from that other jurisdiction advising what the film is about and the rating of the film.

• The form/information should be provided to our office at least 14 days prior to the showing date.

• The request and other information can be sent by email (with an attached PDF), fax or regular mail.

What we do:

• Once the form/information is received, it is then classified by of the Film Classification Board.

• Once the classification is returned from the board members, a letter advising of the, an invoice for the rating of the film(s) is prepared (if the fee was not paid at the time of submission) and sent to you. If the rating is returned a couple of days before the film is due to be shown, the letter and invoice will be faxed.

If you have any questions, contact the Consumer Protection Division, Administrative Coordinator at (306)787-5269.

Send the required information to:

Saskatchewan Film Classification Board
500-1919 Saskatchewan Drive
Regina SK S4P 4H2
Inquiry: (306) 787-5550
Fax: (306) 787-9779
Toll free: 1-877-880-5550
Email: skfilmclass@gov.sk.ca

The classification by documentation fee under this option is currently $50.00 per film title.

In accordance with the Saskatchewan agreement with the British Columbia Film Classification board, the distributor also has the choice of submitting to the BC board for their standard classification fee.

Approved agencies whose previous ratings are recognized for this option include:

 1). British Columbia Film Classification,
 2). Alberta Film Classification (ratings also used by Northwest Territory and Nunavut),
 3). Manitoba Film Classification Board,
 4). Ontario Film Review Board,
 5). Régie du Cinema (Quebec),
 6). Nova Scotia Film Classification (ratings also used by Newfoundland, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island)
 7). The Motion Picture Association of America, or
 8). The British Board of Film Classification.

C. Classification by the Saskatchewan Film Classification Board (viewing required)

This option is:

• not available for regular box office releases or adult only films, and
• is provided to support the development of new entrants, small independent film makers, repertory theatres, public one-time exhibitions by private groups or organizations of documentaries or biographies and for film festivals if not exempted.

To be rated by this option, the distributor or exhibitor must submit a DVD (may also be a 3D blue ray recording) or supply a secure e-link or to the Saskatchewan Film Classification Board at:

Saskatchewan Film Classification Board
500-1919 Saskatchewan Drive
Regina SK S4P 4H2
Inquiry: (306) 787-5550; Toll Free: 1-877-880-5550
Fax: (306) 787-9779
Email: skfilmclass@gov.sk.ca

Films should be submitted at least 21 days in advance of the exhibition or retail release. The classification fee under this option is $50.00 per film title. If requested the Board will return the classified item.

D. Classification using the Canadian Home Video Rating System

This option is only available to Saskatchewan or BC registered wholesale distributors who supply film, videos, or DVD’s to retailers.

The film, video, DVD must have already been rated in another Canadian jurisdiction (this option is not available for adult only films). Clause 2(o) of The Act and regulation 2(b) defines a wholesale distributor:

(o) “wholesale distributor” means a person who engages in wholesale distribution on a continual and successive basis.

Reg 2(b) (b) “person who engages in wholesale distribution” includes the studio that has produced the film, the owner and any other person or group responsible for the release and distribution of the film.

This system is administered by the Motion Picture Association – Canada. The CHVRS came into effect in May 1995 and is a rating system based on a voluntary collaboration by industry members, the Canadian Motion Picture Distributors Association, and the English-speaking provincial film classification boards (allowed by section 5).

Once classified under this system, one of the six classification symbols, the classification rating and advisories must appear on the cassette, jacket or sleeve of the retail film that are distributed to the retailer by the wholesaler.

For more information the wholesale distributor must contact the Motion Picture Association – Canada.

E. Exemptions - Film Screenings at Festivals or Community Events

If there is a screening of films at festivals, cultural or community events, the films must be classified in Saskatchewan or a festival exemption must be obtained.

Obtaining an exemption (regulation 25)

A festival exemption request takes the form of a letter, memo or email sent to the Film Board. The request should include the title of the film, the running time, the distributor of the film and the reason for the exemption request. Additional information such as the classification for the film in other jurisdictions, exemptions granted in other jurisdictions, a written synopsis of the film, or the film itself (for viewing), may be requested by the Board.

Exemption requests should be made at least 45 days in advance of the intended screening date to ensure that the application can be processed in time for the event. There is no fee for the application.

In making an exemption decision, the Board will consider the following factors:

• whether the general public or only a specific group is invited to attend the viewing of the films;
• whether people invited are otherwise warned about the content of the films being shown;
• whether, given the group involved and the nature of the films being shown, approval by the Board, or classification information and restrictions are necessary.

The Board may deny an exemption or may grant an exemption subject to whatever restrictions that it considers appropriate. Examples of such restrictions include minimum age requirements and content warnings.

Simultaneous “live casts” (or live event) Exhibitions

The Film Classification Board takes the position that under The Film and Video Classification Act, the definition of “film” does not include an exhibition of an event, concert or play that is occurring at the same time (that is simultaneously) as the showing of that event, concert or play in a Saskatchewan theatre. In such cases, film classification is not required.

The definition of film, however, does include a pre-recorded or delayed showing of an event, concert or play, and in these cases, film classification is required (Section 2).

For clarity:

• If the event is occurring at exactly the same time as it is being exhibited in a Saskatchewan, film classification is not required
• Pre-recordings, time delayed showings or subsequent exhibition of events, concerts and plays meet the definition of film regardless of whether they were originally performed in front of an audience and these must be classified even where such events was previously exhibited simultaneously.

If classification is required and a classification action based on previewing the recorded event by the Board is not practical prior to the public showing - distributors or exhibitors must submit, in advance, a request for classification along with a written summary description of the event to be shown. Upon receiving the written request, the Film Classification Board will issue an interim classification along with terms and conditions, if any, based on the written description or it may use its discretion to exempt the film. (Section 3; regulation 25)

Send requests to:

Saskatchewan Film Classification Board
500-1919 Saskatchewan Drive
Regina SK S4P 4H2
Inquiry: (306) 787-5550
Fax: (306) 787-9779
Toll Free: 1-877-880-5550
Email: skfilmclass@gov.sk.ca

Prohibited Scenes

Regulation 7 of The Film and Video Classification Regulations reads:

Power to approve, disapprove, etc.

7(1) In exercising its authority pursuant to section 4 of the Act to approve or disapprove a film or require the removal of a portion of a film, the board shall consider the character and content of the film in its entirety and shall approve the exhibition or distribution, as the case may be, unless:

(a) the film contains scenes depicting:

(i) the coercing, through the use of threat or physical force or by other means, of a person to engage in a sexual activity, where the sexual activity that was coerced is depicted in explicit sexual scenes;
(ii) incest or necrophilia;
(iii) bondage in a sexual context;
(iv) persons who are or who appear to be under the age of 14 involved in sexually suggestive scenes, whether or not they appear nude or partially nude;
(v) persons who are or who appear to be under the age of 18 involved in explicit sexual scenes;
(vi) explicit sexual scenes involving violence;
(vii) scenes of brutality or torture, maiming or dismemberment of persons or animals that are portrayed with such a degree of reality and explicitness that the scenes would, in the board’s opinion, be intolerable to the public;
(viii) sexual activity between a human being and an animal; or
(ix) urination or defecation for sexual gratification; and

(b) the board considers the presence of a scene mentioned in clause (a) in the whole context of the film in which it appears and concludes that it is not in the public interest to approve the exhibition or distribution, as the case may be, of the film in Saskatchewan.

(2) The board is not required to disapprove a film or require the removal of a portion of a film that contains scenes mentioned in subsection (1) where the board considers the theme, subject-matter or plot of the film to be artistic, historical, political, educational or scientific.
(3) In exercising its duties pursuant to clause (1)(b), the board shall consider:

(a) the extent to which the film:

(i) degrades or denies human dignity;
(ii) exploits men, women or children by portraying them in a manner that denies their essential worth and dignity as human beings; and
(iii) has capacity to stimulate illegal conduct;

(b) the standards of tolerance and propriety prevailing in Saskatchewan;
(c) the need to protect children from potential exposure to the film; and
(d) the need to protect freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression.

Advertising – Film and Video

The Film Classification Board has the authority to approve, prescribe or prohibit advertising content, and the manner in which such advertising is displayed. (regulation 18)

In exercising its authority pursuant to section 6 of the Act, the board considers whether the advertisement or display:

(a) contains the required classification information
(b) makes the required classification information clearly apparent to those who may view, purchase, rent, lease or exchange films; and
(c) contains material, images or content of a nature that, were they contained in a film, would preclude access by persons of a certain age.

Advertisers should ensure that the above considerations are met.

Adult Film And Videos – Including Retail Premises Requirements (regulation 18(2), regulation 14)

i) Definition

Ss 8(7) of The Film and Video Classification Regulations reads:

(7) A film is to be classified as Adult where the film, in the opinion of the board, is not suitable for viewing by persons under 18 years of age because the film consists of any of the following:

(a) predominantly explicit sexual scenes;
(b) scenes of brutality or torture, maiming or dismemberment of persons or animals that are portrayed with a degree of reality and explicitness that would be tolerable to the community.

ii) Classification Required

All adult films must be classified or rated through the British Columbia Film Classification Office who acts as agent for the Saskatchewan Film Classification Board. The address for that office is:

British Columbia Film Classification Office
200 4946 Canada Way
Burnaby, British Columbia
V5G 4H7
Toll free 1 888 777- 4393

Web page http://www.consumerprotectionbc.ca/motion-pictures-portal

iii) Signage Requirements - No admittance to minors

A retail distributor who offers for sale, rent, lease or exchange only films classified as Adult shall display in a conspicuous manner at all entrances to his or her business premises a sign reading “No admittance to persons under age 18” and shall not admit a person under 18 years of age to the business premises.

iv) Adult Film Premises Requirements

A retail distributor who offers for sale, rent, lease or exchange films classified as Adult in addition to films in other classifications shall offer the Adult films in such a manner that:

(a) all advertising material on the business premises for films classified as Adult and the films themselves are physically segregated from persons under 18 years of age in a manner that is acceptable to the board;
(b) a person under 18 years of age is not admitted into the segregated area; and
(c) a restricted sign mentioned is to be displayed at every entrance to the adult film area.

v) Employees under age 18

Anyone who exhibits, sells, rents, leases or exchanges films classified as Adult shall not permit an employee under 18 years of age to handle or have access to films classified as Adult.

An exhibitor who exhibits films shall not permit an employee under 18 years of age to view a film classified as Restricted or Adult.

vi) Display of films for sale or rent

Every film intended for exhibition or distribution in Saskatchewan that is classified as Adult must:

(a) be approved as an Adult film pursuant to the Motion Picture Act (British Columbia); and
(b) have attached to each copy of the film a decal provided on payment of the prescribed fee pursuant to the Motion Picture Act (British Columbia).

vii) Adult Film Advertising

No advertisement for a film classified as Adult shall be placed, posted or exhibited on the business premises of a retail distributor who offers for sale, rent, lease or exchange only films classified as Adult so that the advertisement is visible to members of the public from outside the premises of the retail distributor.

No advertisement for a film classified as Adult shall be placed, posted or exhibited on the business premises of a retail distributor who offers for sale, rent, lease or exchange films classified as Adult in addition to films with other classifications so that the advertisement or a film classified as Adult is visible to customers in that part of the premises where films with other classifications are offered for sale, rent, lease or exchange.

Remember, before being allowed to distribute, sell, rent or publicly exhibit a film or video in Saskatchewan, every wholesale distributor, retail distributor or exhibitor must register with Saskatchewan's Film Classification Board (section 8).

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