News Release - March 21, 2006
NEW LEGISLATION REGULATES VIDEO GAMES
Proposed amendments to The Film and Video Classification Act will regulate the sale and rental of video and computer games.
"The proposed legislation responds to concerns raised by parents about children's exposure to violent video and computer games," Justice Minister Frank Quennell said.
The Film and Video Classification Act is the legislation that currently governs the classification of films, including videotapes and DVDs. The amendments included in the Bill will make compliance with the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) ratings mandatory for all retailers in the province. The ESRB is a self-regulatory body that has developed a rating system for video, computer and online games. It was established in 1994 by the Entertainment Software Association, an industry trade association representing companies that publish video and computer games.
"The ESRB ratings provide information about video and computer game content, so consumers can make informed purchase decisions," Quennell said. "The ESRB rating system is widely used in North America. Most of the major video games and computer software manufacturers have adopted the ESRB rating system."
Under the proposed amendments, it will be an offence to sell, rent or exhibit video or computer games classified as Mature to a person under the age of 17 and to sell, rent or exhibit a video or computer game classified as Adults Only to a person under the age of 18.
The Bill also updates the existing penalties for non-compliance with the Act. The new maximum penalties for a first offence for an individual are increased to a fine of $5,000 or six months incarceration, or both. In the case of a corporation, the new maximum fine is $100,000.
The new maximum penalties for a second or subsequent offence for an individual are increased to a fine of $10,000 or one year incarceration, or both. In the case of a corporation, the new maximum fine is $500,000 for a second or subsequent offence.
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