The Province has introduced amendments to the Motion Picture Act to give Consumer Protection BC the tools it needs to better protect the interests of individuals and families, and to adapt to changing technology. The last time any significant changes were made to the act was in 1986.
The act introduces a modern compliance and enforcement model that provides a range of sanctions and monetary penalties that do not involve the courts. This approach has proven to be effective in the other sectors Consumer Protection BC regulates -such as debt collection and funeral services - and has been shown to encourage a high level of voluntary compliance.
Previously, the only enforcement options available under the act were licence suspension or cancellation, seizure, or the levy of a fine that involved the court system. The new model allows for penalties that better reflect the seriousness of the infraction. In addition:
- The act will reduce the licensing requirements for theatre owners, who will no longer be forced to hold a separate licence to screen movies that have a restricted classification. One licence will be all that is needed to screen both general release and restricted classification movies. This will save operators and retailers both time and money.
- The act will allow greater protection of the public interest as a result of amending the section of the Act dealing with obscenity. The definition of obscenity contained in the provincial Act is now aligned with the obscenity and child pornography provisions in the Criminal Code of Canada.
- The act is being amended to capture changes in the way movies are distributed to theatres, for example by satellite and digital distribution. Definitions under the act for terms, such as 'film' and 'motion picture', have been clarified to eliminate confusion.
Once the amendments are passed, Consumer Protection BC will work with stakeholders to ensure they are aware of the new standards.
Ministry of Justice