Ratings Classifications for United States and Other Foreign Television Services Available in Canada

Some television services from the United States and other countries are available in Canada. The US and some other countries have their own television ratings systems, which are different from the ratings systems used by Canadian broadcasters. Viewers may notice different classification icons or find that their V-chip does not work on some foreign channels.

The direct availability of foreign stations in Canada is different from Canadian stations airing foreign-produced programs. Even if a program was made in another country, the Canadian station must include a Canadian rating on it.

Television Classification System in the United States

The Canadian classification system was developed in the mid-1990s by an industry group called the Action Group on Violence on Television (AGVOT). AGVOT was working on the Canadian rating system around the same time that the US broadcasters were developing theirs. The US system and its ratings categories are not identical to the AGVOT one for Canadian English-language broadcasters, but it works on similar principles. The US ratings categories indicate the intended audience age group for the programming. The US classification system for television is different than that for US feature films. The V-chip in many television sets sold in Canada will also work with the US rating system. To learn more about the US classification system and the ratings category descriptions, visit the TV Parental Guidelines website at www.tvguidelines.org.

Television Classification Systems in Other Countries

Many other countries have developed classification systems specifically for television programming, while some have simply applied film ratings systems to television content as well. Australia, Chile, France, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Malaysia, Maldives, New Zealand, Peru, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Thailand, Turkey and Venezuela are some of the countries that have devised a television classification system. Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, the Netherlands and South Africa are some that have adapted a film rating system to television. More information about these systems can be found at the Wikipedia.org entry for “Television content ratings systems”