Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak questions whether the provincial government needs to be involved in the rating of films shown in Ontario, suggesting that it may be time to look at a new arrangement.
Nearly all movies, videos, DVDs and the like are classified by the Ontario Film Review Board, if they are distributed or screened in the province. Video games also fall under the board’s purview, as do "adult sex films" as defined under the Film Classification Act.
The board website says that it operates as an arms-length government agency that reports to Ontario’s Minister of Consumer Services. Its members are appointed by the government.
"The OFRB pays for itself," the board website says, with distributors paying a $4.20-per-minute fee to have their films classified.
However, Hudak views the board as a relic of a bygone era and says it is hard to justify having a government hand in film regulation at a time when the province has other, more pressing challenges before it.
"We have to ask ourselves, what is the core role for government today in the 21st century?" Hudak asked Wednesday, when speaking with reporters inside a Toronto movie theatre.
"And is the core role ensuring that government appointees are sitting in a dark room reviewing movies all day long?"
The PC leader suggested it is unnecessary for Ontario to stamp its own ratings on films that have been classified elsewhere.
"Why are ratings that happen in Saskatchewan or Michigan different from what would happen in Ontario?" he said, noting that the film industry is self-regulated in the United States and that in Newfoundland, there is no rating board at all.
"I don’t think this is a core role for government," Hudak said
Hudak used the review board as an example of a type of government program that is not a necessary core service.
Under a Progressive Conservative government, Hudak said there would be a full review of all government programs, with an eye to eliminating those that are not necessary.