New provincial legislation will get rid of $440 fee for operators for film classifications
REGINA – Saskatchewan is bringing in changes to its film classification system aimed at reducing the fees that operators have to pay in order for movies to be classified and shownin the province.
The Film Content Information Act, which was introduced in the Legislature for first reading on Thursday, is described by the government as establishing a new system to inform Saskatchewan consumers on film content.
According to Minister of Justice and Attorney General Bronwyn Eyre, it “will modernize the film classification system, it will remove cumbersome and expensive requirements for film operators for showing a film in the province, and ensure that Saskatchewan filmgoers in the province have comprehensive information that they need before viewing a film.”
Eyre explained some of how it would work. One thing the Act will do is eliminate a $440 fee that the film operators in Saskatchewan must pay when classifying or showing a film in the province.
Right now in Canada, films must be classified by up to seven sets of classification bodies for the various different provinces, each one requiring a fee. Those costs are seen as unnecessary duplication for chains such as Cineplex who might pay seven sets of fees to provide essentially the same film classification information throughout Canada for the same movie.
“It’s pretty much a no brainer when it comes to a classic case of needless red tape and needless cost when you still can get to the same place,” said Eyre. “In other words, get the content out there, that can be outlined in the regulations about what they will have to inform filmgoers about but on the other hand won’t have to pay $440 every time you want to get it classified or exhibited.”
As for classification requirements, Eyre said the regulations will lay out what information is still required for film exhibitors to provide to the public on a film’s content, including such things as the age of the audience, nudity, course language, substance use and so on. The only difference, said Eyre, is operators will not have to pay the $440 fee.
The move by the province is being welcomed by the theatres, including the independent ones that aren’t part of the major chains. Overall, it’s estimated that removing the $440 fee would save operators around $65,000.
“This marks a significant and well-timed improvement for both the film industry and the public,” Movie Theatre Association of Canada Executive Director Nuria Bronfman said in the government’s news release. “We are pleased to have collaborated with the province and the Financial and Consumer Affairs Authority on this crucial matter, offering our insights as industry stakeholders. We look forward to further collaboration in the future.”
The thinking, according to the government, is this legislation will help theatres in the province who face increasing pressure from digital distributors and streamers, whose content is encouraging movie consumers to get their content at home.
“Absolutely,” said Eyre. “And so particularly when you have the independents, they want this as a cost cutting measure, but also as a red tape reduction measure… when they’re competing with a very broad changing sector. So absolutely that’s what it’s about.”