Bad news, Canadian Jeopardy! fans: You are no longer eligible to apply for a spot on the game show due to legal red tape.
The much-beloved quiz show hosted by Canuck Alex Trebek has long accepted Canadian contestants. But, that changed this year. Hopefuls were able to apply in January to appear on upcoming shows, but Canadians were shut out.
The official explanation as to why is murky.
“As international laws governing how information is shared over the internet are ever-changing and complex, we are currently investigating how we can accept registrations from potential Canadian contestants,” an emailed statement from the show’s producers stated.
Global News has asked for clarity on which law is preventing the application process, but did not receive a response by time of publication.
In the meantime they are working on it, the producers said.
“The Jeopardy! Adult, Teen, and College tests have already taken place this year, and we are making every effort to find a solution before the next round of testing is available.”
The show will next be accepting applications in 2017.
“It is true that for the most recent Jeopardy! contestant tryouts, Canadians were precluded from taking the online test, since the show must now comply with new rules set down by the Canadian government,” Trebek said in a statement to the Ottawa Citizen, also forwarded to Global News.
“However, people are in our contestant pool for 18 months, and we have featured several Canadians as contestants on Jeopardy! this season (at least 7 at last count), including one who will appear this Monday, February 22, and two more who have already taped for appearances in March.
Trebek then points at Canadian privacy laws as the culprit behind the ban.
“We have had many Canadians as contestants throughout the history of the show, and we hope that will continue, because Canadians make great game show contestants. We look forward to having more try out as soon as we are sure we can comply with all Canadian online privacy laws.”
Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation, which went into effect July 1, 2014, is aimed at reducing spam, but has a broader definition which regulates and restricts messages for commercial purposes.
Law professor Michael Geist finds is “strange” that the anti-spam law might be to blame.
“There is nothing in the law that would preclude Canadians from taking an online test, wherever located. Indeed, the law is based on obtaining consent,” Geist said in an email to Global News.
When someone applies to be on the show, they are very much giving consent to further communication, Geist says.
“Assuming the contestant has given their consent to be contacted by taking the test, there is no legal impediment under the anti-spam law to contact them. I’m not aware of any Canadian rule that would prevent registrations from potential Canadian contestants.”
Global News has reached out to the the Minister of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development Navdeep Bains for comment, but did not receive a response by time of publication.
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