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3rd Session, 41st Legislature

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Bill 15

THE FILM AND VIDEO CLASSIFICATION AND DISTRIBUTION ACT


Table of Contents Bilingual version (PDF) Explanatory Note

(Assented to                                         )

HER MAJESTY, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, enacts as follows:

INTRODUCTORY PROVISIONS

Definitions

1(1)        The following definitions apply in this Act.

"adult film" means a film with the main object to depict

(a) one or more sexually explicit scenes;

(b) one or more scenes of brutality or torture to persons or animals, depicted in a realistic and explicit manner; or

(c) scenes prescribed by regulation. (« film pour adultes »)

"adult film distributor" means a person who distributes adult films to an adult film retailer or another adult film distributor. (« distributeur de films pour adultes »)

"adult film retailer" means a person who distributes adult films to the public. (« détaillant de films pour adultes »)

"director" means the director appointed under section 10. (« directeur »)

"distribute" includes to rent, lease, sell or supply or to make an offer to do any of those things. (« distribuer »)

"film" means a cinematographic film, video film or other medium prescribed by regulation within which is recorded, by photographic, digital or other electronic means, the content which, when used with a projector, machine or other appropriate device, produces a moving visual image. (« film »)

"film distributor" means a person who distributes films to theatres. (« distributeur de films »)

"former Act" means The Amusements Act, R.S.M. 1987, c. A70, as it read immediately before the coming into force of this Act, and includes the regulations made under that Act. (« loi antérieure »)

"minister" means the minister appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council to administer this Act. (« ministre »)

"theatre" means a building or hall or any other place, including an open-air place, where films are exhibited to members of the public who have paid an admission fee. (« cinéma »)

"video game" means an object or device that

(a) stores recorded data or instructions;

(b) receives data or instructions generated by a user; and

(c) by processing the data or instructions, creates an interactive game capable of being played, viewed or experienced through a computer, gaming system or other technology. (« jeu vidéo »)

Reference to "Act" includes regulations

1(2)        The term "this Act" includes regulations made under this Act.

Video game is a film

1(3)        Under this Act, a video game is a video film, as that term is used in the definition "film" in subsection (1).

Purpose

2           The purpose of this Act is to ensure that

(a) films, which includes other forms of entertainment involving prerecorded moving visual images, are classified;

(b) the classifications, and information concerning the general nature and content of films within the various classifications, are made available to the public; and

(c) persons who distribute films that are exhibited in theatres and adult films are licenced.

Non-application of this Act

3           This Act does not apply to a person who distributes an adult film by means of the internet, cable television, satellite or other means prescribed by regulation.

FILMS AND VIDEOS

Film in Theatres

Film distributor licence required

4(1)        A person must not distribute a film for the purpose of exhibition in a theatre unless the person holds a licence as a film distributor.

Distribution of unclassified films prohibited

4(2)        A film distributor must not distribute a film for the purposes of exhibition in a theatre unless

(a) the film has been classified by the director and its classification is indicated as prescribed by regulation; and

(b) the distributor complies with any condition imposed by this Act on the distribution of the film.

Unclassified films cannot be exhibited

5           A person must not exhibit a film in a theatre unless

(a) the film has been classified by the director and its classification is indicated as prescribed by regulation; and

(b) the person complies with any condition imposed by this Act on the exhibition of the film.

Admission of minors may be prohibited

6           If a minor — or one or more classes of minors — is prohibited from viewing a film in a theatre because of the film's classification, the person in charge of a theatre must not permit such a minor to attend at the theatre to view the film.

Adult Films

Adult film distributor licence required

7(1)        A person must not carry on the business of an adult film distributor unless the person holds a licence as an adult film distributor.

Adult films must be classified

7(2)        An adult film distributor and an adult film retailer must not distribute an adult film unless

(a) it has been classified by the director and its classification is indicated as prescribed by regulation; and

(b) any condition imposed under this Act respecting its distribution is complied with.

Access by minors to adult films prohibited

8(1)        An adult film distributor, and an adult film retailer, must not distribute an adult film to a minor.

Treatment of adult films in retail locations

8(2)        An adult film retailer must, in accordance with the regulations, ensure that adult films and any advertising material in connection with them are physically and visually segregated from any area in which a minor may be present.

Non-Theatrical Films

Distribution of unclassified films prohibited

9           A person who operates, manages or works in a retail establishment of any kind where films, other than adult films, are distributed to the public must not distribute a film unless

(a) the film has been classified in accordance with the regulations; and

(b) the classification of the film is indicated as prescribed by regulation.

ADMINISTRATION AND ENFORCEMENT

Director

Appointment of director

10(1)       The minister must appoint a person as the director for the purposes of this Act.

Director may delegate

10(2)       The director may delegate to any person, in writing, any of the powers, duties or functions of the director under this Act.

Limitations

10(3)       A delegation is subject to the limitations and conditions set out in the delegation.

Director retains powers and duties

10(4)       The director may continue to exercise a power or perform a duty or function that the director has delegated.

Powers and duties of director

11          The director has the following powers and duties:

(a) to classify films to be exhibited in theatres, and to classify adult films, by doing one or more of the following in accordance with the regulations:

(i) viewing each film,

(ii) reviewing documentation or other information describing the content of each film,

(iii) adopting a classification of a film or class of film established by another person or entity;

(b) to ensure that information concerning films classified under clause (a) is publicly available on a government website and in other forms that the director considers appropriate;

(c) in accordance with the regulations and subject to any prescribed terms and conditions, to exempt the following:

(i) a person or entity, or a class of persons or entities, from a requirement of this Act,

(ii) a film or a class of films from the requirement for classification;

(d) to exercise any other power or carry out any other duty assigned to the director by this Act or the minister.

Reconsideration of classification decisions

12(1)       A person who disagrees with the director's classification of a film may request that the director reconsider the classification.

Conduct of a reconsideration

12(2)       A reconsideration may be requested and conducted only in accordance with the regulations.

Licensing

Application for licence or renewal

13(1)       To obtain or renew a licence, an application must be made in a form approved by the director and be accompanied by the fee prescribed by regulation.

Required information

13(2)       An applicant must

(a) provide the information required by the regulations and the application form; and

(b) provide any other information or documentation required by the director.

Grounds for refusal

13(3)       The director may refuse to issue or renew a licence if

(a) the applicant fails to pay the fee prescribed by regulation;

(b) the applicant provides incomplete, false, misleading or inaccurate information in support of the application; or

(c) the applicant or an associate of the applicant — being an officer or director or any other person who performs services related to the management or operation of the applicant's business — has contravened this Act or the former Act.

Terms and conditions of licence

14(1)       The director may, if the director considers it in the public interest to do so, impose terms or conditions on a licence at the time of issuing it, or at any other time by written notice to the licence holder. A licence is also subject to any terms or conditions imposed by regulation.

Duration of licence

14(2)       A licence is valid for one year from the day it is issued.

Licence not transferable or assignable

14(3)       A licence is not transferable or assignable.

Suspension or cancellation of licence

15          After providing the licence holder with an opportunity to be heard, the director may suspend or cancel a licence

(a) on any ground on which the director may refuse to issue a licence; or

(b) for failure of the holder to comply with a term or condition of the licence.

Inspectors and Inspections

Appointment of inspectors

16(1)       The minister may appoint any person as an inspector for the purpose of this Act, subject to any terms or conditions the minister considers necessary.

Designating inspectors

16(2)       The minister may, on such terms or conditions as the minister may specify, designate a person or class of persons employed by the government as inspectors for the purpose of administering and enforcing this Act.

Identification

16(3)       An inspector exercising a power under this Act must produce identification on request.

Authority to enter and inspect

17(1)       For the purposes of administering and enforcing this Act, an inspector, at any reasonable time and without a warrant, may 

(a) enter and inspect any theatre or other premises, excluding a private dwelling, where a film is or is to be distributed, exhibited or otherwise made available to the public;

(b) require the distributor of a film or the owner, operator or person in charge of the theatre or other premises,

(i) to make available for inspection a film and any documents associated with a film that the inspector considers necessary, and

(ii) to give the inspector all reasonable assistance requested by the inspector; and

(c) on giving a receipt, remove a film and any documents associated with a film that the inspector considers necessary for the purpose of viewing the film and making copies of the documents.

Authority to enter private dwelling

17(2)       An inspector may not enter a private dwelling except with the consent of the owner or occupant or under the authority of a warrant.

Warrant to enter and inspect private dwelling

17(3)       On application by an inspector, a justice may, at any time, issue a warrant authorizing the inspector and any other person named in the warrant to enter and inspect a private dwelling if the justice is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to believe that

(a) entry to the dwelling is necessary for the purpose of administering or determining compliance with this Act; and

(b) entry to the dwelling has been refused or will be refused.

Application without notice

17(4)       A warrant under this section may be issued upon application without notice.

Agreements

Agreements re classification and licensing

18(1)       Subject to the approval of the Lieutenant Governor in Council, the director may enter into an agreement with the government of any other province or territory or an agency of any of them, or any other person or entity

(a) for the purpose of classifying

(i) films for exhibition in theatres in Manitoba, or

(ii) films, including adult films, for distribution in Manitoba; and

(b) for the recognition of

(i) a licence to distribute films or a similar licence issued in another province or territory as a licence to distribute films issued under this Act, and

(ii) a licence issued under this Act to distribute films as a licence issued under similar legislation in another province or territory.

Effect of licence suspensions and cancellations

18(2)       An agreement under subsection (1) may provide that a suspension or cancellation of a licence referred to in subclause (b)(i) or (ii) in the province or territory in which the licence was issued operates as a suspension or cancellation of the licence in the other province or territory.

Sharing of information under agreement

18(3)       An agreement may provide for the exchange of information, including personal information as defined in The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, between the parties to the agreement, if the information is necessary for the purpose of

(a) complying with or implementing the agreement; or

(b) administering and enforcing this Act and the similar legislation in the other party's jurisdiction.

Effect of agreement

18(4)       If the director enters into an agreement under clause (1)(a) that provides that the classification of films is to be done by a government, agency, person or entity, then that classification of a film is deemed to have been done by the director under this Act.

Offences and Penalties

Offences

19(1)       A person who does any of the following commits an offence:

(a) contravenes a provision of this Act;

(b) contravenes a provision of the regulations, the contravention of which is stated in the regulations to be an offence;

(c) gives false information in an application for a licence;

(d) hinders or obstructs, or makes a false or misleading statement to, an inspector who is carrying out an inspection under this Act.

Directors and officers of corporations

19(2)       If a corporation commits an offence under this Act, a director or officer of the corporation who authorized, permitted or acquiesced in the commission of the offence is also guilty of an offence.

Penalties

20          A person who commits an offence under this Act is liable on conviction,

(a) in the case of an individual, to a fine of not more than $10,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than six months, or both; and

(b) in the case of a corporation, to a fine of not more than $100,000.

REGULATIONS

Regulations

21(1)       The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations

(a) respecting the submission of films for exhibition in theatres, and adult films, to the director for classification;

(b) establishing a classification scheme for films, including

(i) establishing different classification schemes for different classes of films, and

(ii) adopting by reference, with any changes the Lieutenant Governor in Council considers necessary or advisable, a classification scheme established by another person or entity;

(c) with respect to a film classification, prescribing the ages of minors who may be prohibited from viewing films of that classification;

(d) prescribing the fees payable in respect of the classification of a film by the director, including the manner in which fees are determined;

(e) specifying rules of practice and procedure, including time limits and rules of evidence, for the purposes of a reconsideration under section 12;

(f) exempting a person or entity, or class of persons or entities, and films, from the requirements of one or more provisions of this Act, and imposing terms and conditions on the exemption;

(g) respecting conditions under which films, including adult films, may be distributed or exhibited;

(h) respecting the licensing of film distributors and adult film distributors, including

(i) applications for licences and renewals,

(ii) the fees payable for applications and licences, and when fees are payable,

(iii) the terms and conditions of licences and the renewal of licences, and

(iv) the suspension or cancellation of licences;

(i) respecting the contravention of a provision in a regulation that constitutes an offence subject to a penalty specified in section 20;

(j) defining any word or expression used but not defined in this Act;

(k) prescribing anything referred to in this Act as being prescribed;

(l) respecting any matter the Lieutenant Governor in Council considers necessary or advisable to carry out the purpose of this Act.

Scope and application of regulations

21(2)       A regulation under this section

(a) may be general or particular in its application; and

(b) may establish classes of films or persons or entities and may apply differently to different classes.

TRANSITIONAL PROVISIONS

Dissolution of film classification board

22          On the coming into force of this Act,

(a) The Manitoba Film Classification Board, as appointed under the former Act, is dissolved;

(b) the rights and property of the board are vested in the government; and

(c) all liabilities and obligations of the board are assumed by the government.

Transition for film classifications

23          A film that was classified under the former Act is deemed to have been classified under this Act.

Transition for licence holders

24(1)       A person who, immediately before the coming into force of this Act, held

(a) a Class A - General Licence issued under the former Act is deemed to hold a film distributor's licence issued under this Act; and

(b) a Class C - Video Distributor licence issued under the former Act is deemed to hold be an adult film distributor licence issued under this Act.

Continuation of licences

24(2)        Unless it is sooner cancelled or suspended, a film distributor's licence or an adult film distributor's licence that a person is deemed to hold under subsection (1) remains valid for one year from the day the licence was issued under the former Act.

CONSEQUENTIAL AMENDMENT, C.C.S.M. REFERENCE AND COMING INTO FORCE

Consequential amendments, C.C.S.M. c. A70

25          The following provisions of The Amusements Act are repealed:

(a) in section 1, the definitions "amusement", "board", "distribute", "film", "film exchange", "licence", "owner", "person", "proprietary right", "slide", "theatre" and "video game";

(b) Parts III to IX;

(c) sections 56 to 59 and 61.

C.C.S.M. reference

26           This Act may be referred to as chapter F53 of the Continuing Consolidation of the Statutes of Manitoba.

Coming into force

27          This Act comes into force on a day to be fixed by proclamation.

Explanatory Note

Currently, films are regulated under The Amusements Act. This Bill establishes a new regulatory framework for the classification and distribution of films and other forms of prerecorded moving visual images, such as rental videos and video games.

The Manitoba Film Classification Board is dissolved and a director appointed for the purpose of the new Act.

The director must classify theatrically released films and adult films sold, rented or otherwise made available to the public (other than by the Internet or cable or satellite television). Distributors of such films must be licensed. With Cabinet approval, the director may enter into an agreement whereby classification and licensing determinations of another government or government agency apply in Manitoba.

Video games, videos and non-theatrically released films must be classified and the classification indicated as provided for in the regulations.