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Motion Pictures

Posted on
08 September 2015
  • Comments (4)

Movie Ratings: G, PG, 14A, 18A, what do they all mean?

Written by  Shoko

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If you are taking your kids to a movie, do you usually check to see how the movie is rated and if there are any advisories? I sometimes take my niece or teen cousin to the movies and until I started working at Consumer Protection BC, I didn’t really understand what each rating meant. In this blog, I’ll show you how you can make an informed decision about a movie so that your whole party will enjoy the experience.

Before we get started, let me explain that while I use the word “rating”, the official term is “classification” and I will use these terms interchangeably. 

1. First of all, before you decide which movie to see, visit our Categories and Advisories page on our motion picture website and understand what the ratings mean. In BC, all motion pictures are reviewed and classified by Consumer Protection BC, following the Motion Picture Act. Under the act, there are six unique classification categories used for film classification in BC. (Note that each province classifies their own movies and that the classification categories are different in Canada than in the United States.)

2.  Use the Classification Search function on our website. You can simply type in the title of the movie and you’ll find out what the rating is in BC. The great part of this search function is that it will also give you the advisory attached to the movie.

For example, our search function can tell you that, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” was classified PG and includes:

  • Several scenes of violence depicting fighting, burning and explosion
  • Several frightening scenes.

This can be very helpful information, especially if you are going to watch the movie with little kids.

3.  You can buy your movie tickets online or go directly to the theatre…and there’s always popcorn. Enjoy the movie!


Last modified on 05 October 2015


Shoko works in communications and marketing for Consumer Protection BC. She is our regular blogger and is always looking for topics of interest to BC consumers. Feel free to ask a question related to any of our posts by posting a comment!




05 October 2015
Hi Julie, that's a great question! PG-13 is a type of classification from the US that does not exist in Canada. In Canada, each province has its own classification system (in BC, Consumer Protection BC classifies general release motion pictures).


05 October 2015
The categories don't include PG-13. Why?

Pat Weninger

21 May 2017
The B grade movie The Little Hours is described as a subversive comedy with no apologies for the graphic sexual content. This is fine for those who are looking for legal porn. Sadly, this movie takes on the Catholic Church and portrays religious persons as depraved sexual deviants. This is an horrific affront to the millions of catholics world wide. Is nothing safe from sacrilegious renditions? Surely, a society that does not learn from history is doomed to repeat it....I'm thinking of the collapse of Rome when it was the center of the known universe at its height. If this type of 'entertainment' becomes the legal norm, then this society, too, must collapse. Please work towards a decent, healthy society by doing your part to rate and preferably even prevent the distribution of pornography!!


23 May 2017
Hi Pat, thank you for taking the time to reach out to us. We are mandated by the Motion Picture Act to classify movies that are publicly exhibited in BC. We make decisions based on the Act’s Regulations which define the categories. The Little Hours has not been submitted to us for classification. We really value any consumers that take the time to share their thoughts, so thank you, again, for sharing yours.

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