Changes to how movies are rated

As part of the Government of Ontario’s omnibus bill, Bill 229, “Protect, Support, and Recover from COVID-19 Act (Budget Measures), 2020” the Government is replacing the current age-based movie rating system where movie studios had to get a rating for their movie in order to show it. In its place will be an optional content warning system, determined by each movie theatre that shows the movie, that includes some suggestions about what audiences might want to know about a movie before determining whether it would be appropriate to watch. This change to the rating system is taking place on June 8th, 2021.

While depictions of smoking and e-cigarette use are included as options movie theatres could choose to share as part of these content warnings, we are concerned that the new system is not mandatory, does not require consistent warnings, and does not include an age-based rating.

The changes made to movie ratings could mean more children and youth will see tobacco imagery in movies and as a result more will start smoking or vaping. Additionally, moving away from the current movie rating system to a content warning system will mean there will no longer be anything that could discourage the film industry from using tobacco imagery in movies that are marketed to children.

Our members have been in contact with the Government of Ontario to raise our concerns. We encourage you to contact your MPP as well.

To learn more:

Ontario’s plan to drop film ratings puts children at risk, health official says by Rob Ferguson
Credits roll on traditional age-based movie ratings by Antonella Artuso

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