Written by Consumer Protection BC’s motion picture classification department

If you’ve ever gone to the movies in British Columbia and wondered where the G, PG, 14A or 18A came from, then you’ve come to the right place! Our classification work is mandated by the Motion Picture Act. Our team of trained classifiers review all motion pictures publicly exhibited in BC theatres.

Our classifiers will watch a film in its entirety and note elements such as coarse language, violence, nudity and sexuality. A classification and advisory is then applied and posted to our website to inform consumers of notable content.

The classifying process helps consumers, and particularly parents, make more informed decisions when choosing a movie.

If you’re now wondering what skills make up a successful classifier, look no further. We’ve got a breakdown for you:

Focus and analytical skills:

Our classifiers watch over 15 films per week. They analyze content closely – applying their knowledge of the legislation and its guidelines to categorize films consistently and accurately. This requires a lot of focus and mental stamina!

Observation and attention to detail:

Attention to detail and observation skills are key to being a classifier. Content elements may sometimes occur simultaneously – for example, coarse language may be heard in song lyrics playing as a violent car chase unfolds with actors yelling back and forth at one another. If classifiers are not paying close attention, something notable may be missed.

Note-taking and recall:

Our classifiers take clear and thorough notes about content while watching films. They reference this information during their post-viewing discussions. For films that are over two hours long, it can be helpful to look back on notes to recall exactly what happened. These records are also helpful when the team receives an inquiry from a consumer about the details behind a classification decision.


Classifiers must be able to verbalize their decision-making process. Whether it’s for their post-viewing discussion or when responding to feedback from a consumer, our classifiers must be able to clearly state how and why they came to a decision.

Our classifiers review approximately 2000 titles a year, using the Motion Picture Act to guide their decision making. Public feedback also plays a key role in decisions – the team meets regularly to discuss recent correspondence and how to best reflect the community standards in BC.

Think you’ve got what it takes to be a great classifier? Keep an eye on the Careers page of our website for openings.

If you want to get in touch about a movie classification, please do! It helps classifiers determine how they can best assist BC families in making informed viewing choices. We can be reached at: classification@consumerprotectionbc.ca.

Check the classification of a specific movie on our website.


Movie ratings: G, PG, 14A, 18A, what do they all mean?
History of motion picture classification in BC
Adult accompaniment – it’s the law.
Movie ratings & advisories – know before you go.
Curious about video game ratings?