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Proposed bill seeks to create Sask. film classification system, eliminate fees for theatres

Saskatchewan is creating its own film classification system with a new bill – which also seeks to eliminate red tape and fees for theatres.

The Film Content Information Act was introduced into the legislature on Thursday.

According to Minister of Justice Bronwyn Eyre, it costs up to $440 for a theatre to classify and exhibit a film in Saskatchewan.

“This [bill] removes that cost, that red tape and those requirements for them … but there will still be regulations that accompany the legislation about what content has to be made available to filmgoers,” she told reporters.

“Its pretty much a no-brainer when it comes to a classic case of needless red tape, needless cost when you can still get to the same place, in other words get the content out there.”

The province’s current regulations under The Film and Video Classification Act, 2016 are based off of British Columbia’s consumer protection rules..

The Government of Ontario went down a similar path that Saskatchewan is seeking – taking away the fee for film classifications but keeping British Columbia’s rating structure.

Eyre says the new regulations were created with smaller exhibitors in mind.

“For an independent movie operator in the province – and we’ve heard this from a number of them – that has been an expensive and cumbersome requirement,” she said.

“Certainly coming out of the pandemic, we know that movie theatres were in quite a lot of trouble … It’s flexible and makes good sense that we start to cut some of the red tape from those who show movies when the digital marketplace so to speak has changed all of that so much.”

For the more than 50 exhibitors in the province – regulations that will accompany the bill will outline what information has to be included to inform the public about a film’s rating.

“We’ll lay out in very clear detail what information still has to be put out there for the film going public. So, age, nudity, course language, substance use all those sorts of things,” Eyre said.

According to the province, the move will save operators approximately $65,000 annually.

"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 a news release.

“We look forward to further collaboration in the future." Top Stories

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