The Saskatchewan Film Classification Board
Classification Categories and Advisories
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);
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.
US Film Classification Ratings Comparison
Films in the
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
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.
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
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
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.
• 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
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,
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
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
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
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;
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).
• If the event is occurring at exactly the same time as it is being exhibited in a Saskatchewan, film classification is not required
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
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;
(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.
(a) the extent to which the film:
(i) degrades or denies human dignity;
(b) the standards of tolerance and propriety prevailing in Saskatchewan;
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
Advertisers should ensure that the above considerations are met.
Adult Film And Videos – Including Retail Premises Requirements (regulation 18(2), regulation 14)
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;
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
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;
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
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).