Ottawa

Jeopardy, finally: Alex Trebek says ban on Canadian applicants to be lifted

The Canadian host of popular U.S. game show Jeopardy says he expects issues with the online application form that led to a ban on Canadian applications to be resolved by the summer.

Popular U.S. game show stopped accepting Canadian applications, citing privacy laws

​Game show host Alex Trebek visited Trudeau in his Parliament Hill office 1:23

The Canadian host of popular U.S. game show Jeopardy says he expects issues with the online application form that led to a ban on Canadian applications to be resolved by the summer.

Alex Trebek, speaking Thursday in Ottawa where he met with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and later received a key to the city, says changes to Canada's privacy laws in 2015 forced the initial decision to stop accepting Canadians.

"We at Jeopardy and Sony productions were not in compliance with the new rules and so we have been working very hard to rectify that problem," he said.

Though he did not give an exact timetable for when Canadians might be able to go online for a chance to show off their knowledge, he said he expects "we will be in full compliance by the time we start shooting our 33rd season of programs this July."

Privacy, language issues

The show's decision in February to stop accepting Canadian applications, was — like the show's signature format — an answer that invited questions.

For example, it was unclear how the updates to the Digital Privacy Act in 2015 put the show out of compliance, and the show's publicists didn't provide much clarity.

In a statement issued in February, they said, "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."

Trebek further muddied the waters Thursday during his meeting with Trudeau, when he mentioned that a separate requirement was that the applications had to be in both English and French, something that previously hadn't been mentioned as an issue.

But he said the show has just learned that it has been exempted from that requirement.

Trebek said Canadians who had applied before the changes are still in the show's backlog of potential contestants, so there will be no shortage of Canadian participants.
 
"We have enough Canadians in the pipeline already as contestants, so you'll see them on the program between now and July," he said.

Contestant Justin?

Trebek said he knows of at least one Canadian eager to apply: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. 

"In my conversations with the prime minister a little while ago, he mentioned that if Jeopardy ever conducts a world leader celebrity Jeopardy tournament, count him in."

Trebek said he told Trudeau this would never happen, because "no other political leader that I can think of would accept our invitation and would go in against him."