Reality TV Programs Require Classification Icons, Those Containing Coarse Language Must Also Carry Appropriate Viewer Advisories and Air Post-9 pm, Says Canadian Broadcast Standards Council

Ottawa, February 9, 2012 – The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) today released its decision concerning TVA’s broadcast of the four-episode reality TV program on the historic rivalry between the Montreal and Quebec hockey teams, La Série Montréal-Québec.

The challenged episode, broadcast at 7:30 pm on January 16, 2011, contained neither classification icons nor viewer advisories, and the language used by the players and coaches, dissatisfied by their individual performances or that of their respective team, was peppered with swear words.

The CBSC noted that reality TV programs do not fall into an exempt category and must therefore be classified according to Article 4 of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ (CAB) Violence Code, saying that a 13+ rating would have been appropriate in this case.  It added that, given its coarse language, the episode should have also contained appropriate viewer advisories as required under Clause 11 of the CAB Code of Ethics.

While televised hockey games are considered family fare and the use of swear words and coarse language is commonplace in sports arenas and dressing rooms, the CBSC felt some viewers continue to be uncomfortable with this type of language, especially if children are watching.  It therefore also found that the unedited version of this program should have been aired during the watershed period (9 pm to 6 am) in accordance with Clause 10(a) of the CAB Code of Ethics.

The CBSC was created in 1990 by Canada’s private broadcasters to administer the codes of standards that they established for their industry.  The CBSC currently administers 7 codes which deal with ethics, equitable portrayal, violence, news and journalistic independence.  Nearly 750 radio stations, satellite radio services, television stations and specialty and pay television services across Canada are members of the Council.

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All CBSC decisions, Codes, links to members' and other web sites, and related information are available on the CBSC's website at For more information, please contact the CBSC National Chair, Mme Andrée Noël CBSC Executive Director, John MacNab