Movie ratings in Ontario have been handled by the Ontario Film Authority for a while now, but things are about to change. It was announced on September 27 that Doug Ford's provincial government will "assume responsibility for administering the Film Classification Act, 2005" — in other words, Ontario movie ratings. The Ontario Film Authority (OFA) announced the news on their website stating that they will be relieved of their duties starting October 1.
The move will see the Ontario government take control of film classification. At least at first, the government will fall back on using B.C.'s film ratings instead of the OFA setting those markers, as had been the case until October 1.*
A statement from the office of Lisa Thompson, Ontario's Minister of Government and Consumer Services, told Narcity: "Ontario's Government is reducing red tape while protecting the public's interest, ensuring consumers have the information they need to make informed viewing choices. Recently, the OFA provided the ministry with critical financial information related to its fiscal pressures, due to a rapidly changing film market ...
"In the short-term, Ontario will recognize film classifications from British Columbia for mainstream films and approvals from any Canadian jurisdiction for adult films. The government has a long-term plan to modernize the film classification framework in Ontario that maintains consumer protections for Ontarians. This will include consultations with the public and industry in the fall of 2019."
In a letter to stakeholders, the OFA explained that the Ontario government is making changes to help modernize the film classification act in order to reduce "unnecessary burden" on the current film industry.
"These changes are estimated to save the film industry a minimum of $1.5 to $2, million per year in film classification and licensing costs," the statement reads. The letter goes on to say that the OFA will be ending its operations and "the ministry will look into the industry to consult on ways to better reflect today's film market."
Jonathan Goldsbie, an editor at CANADALAND, retweeted a screenshot of the news and shared it with his followers.
"Starting this Tuesday, the Doug Ford government will be responsible for movie ratings in Ontario. The independent organization that currently assigns ratings will be shutting down," reads the tweet.
Starting this Tuesday, the Doug Ford government will be responsible for movie ratings in Ontario. The independent… https://t.co/7peIbk92c3— Jonathan Goldsbie (@Jonathan Goldsbie)1569608774.0
Unsurprisingly, and even on a day when the focus is on Canada-wide climate strikes, this news got plenty of people talking.
Here's a sample of what people had to say:
@goldsbie #ONpoli The government's new service is just Doug texting you his thoughts on the movie from his cell phone.— T.O. Resident (@T.O. Resident)1569609853.0
One guy even goes as far as comparing these changes to the system employed in China. "Cutting more red tape, I assume? How much is this extra layer of bureaucracy and unwanted interference in the private sector going to cost us?" says the Twitter user.
@goldsbie Cutting more red tape, I assume? How much is this extra layer of bureaucracy and unwanted interference in… https://t.co/tnQDzttIeu— Todd Biddle (@Todd Biddle)1569610483.0
@veilletteTO @JoanneCangal Don't worry. The Ford govt will undoubtedly fuck this up royally. Everything will be fine.— ThursdayGuy (@ThursdayGuy)1569610399.0
@veilletteTO @shawnmicallef WTF is right! No doubt that Lisa Thompson will ban any movie or TV show that has posit… https://t.co/GOpIadSpyf— CThomaidis (@CThomaidis)1569613370.0
The Ontario Film Authority was essentially a protection racket, anyway... you gave them a description of the film a… https://t.co/G60pJsQcT0— Chris Kennedy (@Chris Kennedy)1569611570.0
Not everyone was as alarmed by the idea, though. One user, for instance, stated that: "The Ontario Film Authority was essentially a protection racket, anyway..."
The changes come into effect almost immediately, on October 1, 2019.
Whether or not the movie ratings will see a major change, and whether you like it or not, the Ford government is now directly involved in the province's film industry.
*This article has been updated.