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Ford government to axe Ontario’s film ratings board

The Ontario government is shutting down the agency that oversees the province's motion picture ratings system. Ontario Premier Doug Ford speaks at a press conference at the Toronto Police College in Toronto, Friday, Aug. 23, 2019.
The Ontario government is shutting down the agency that oversees the province's motion picture ratings system. Ontario Premier Doug Ford speaks at a press conference at the Toronto Police College in Toronto, Friday, Aug. 23, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston

TORONTO – The Ontario government is shutting down the agency that oversees the province’s motion picture ratings system.

In an announcement Friday, the ministry of government and consumer services says winding down the Ontario Film Authority on Oct. 1 will save money for the film industry, which pays classification and licensing fees before each film is approved for screening in the province.

The closure of the arm’s-length agency is a first step in a consultation process Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservative government plans to launch in the new year. It expects to consult with provincial film ratings agencies, the federal government and audiences to create “a modern framework for film classification.”

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Until the process begins, the Ford government says it will rely on British Columbia’s Motion Picture Act to classify films released in Ontario.

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The move comes amid years of changes to how the province ratings system is organized. The Ontario Film Authority was created under the Liberals in 2015 as part of a restructuring of the former Ontario Film Review Board.

Both operated under a mandate to help the film industry, rather than financially benefit from the ratings system.

The government projects a savings of $1.5 million to $2 million per year for the film industry.