(TORONTO) – The Entertainment Software Association of Canada (ESAC) joined with the US-based Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) and the Interprovincial Film Classification Council of Canada (IFCCC) today to announce a new Canadian Advisory Committee to the ESRB content rating system for computer and video games.
The new Committee will provide Canadian input and advice to the ESRB for consideration in the development of ratings policies for video games. The committee will be comprised of three provincial government representatives, one representative from industry appointed by the ESAC and will be chaired by a representative from the ESRB. The inaugural members will include representatives from the following provincial film boards responsible for film and video games; Manitoba, Henry Huber, Chair, Manitoba Film Classification Board; BC, Elaine Ivancic, Director, BC Film Classification Office; and Ontario, Janet Robinson, Chair, Ontario Film Review Board.
“This new committee will provide an opportunity to ensure that any Canadian issues and concerns about the rating system are heard at the policy development level,” said Danielle LaBossiere, Executive Director of ESAC. “Research shows that Canadian parents are aware of the ESRB rating system for games and have confidence in the accuracy and appropriateness of the ratings. The establishment of the CAC provides an additional level of assurance that Canadian viewpoints are being taken into account.”
According to ACNielsen, 71% of Canadian parents with kids under 18 that own video and/or PC games agree that the rating system is effective in providing guidance to buyers*. While the industry continues to self-regulate through the assignment of ratings and the enforcement of marketing guidelines, provincial governments in Ontario, BC, Manitoba and Nova Scotia have recently introduced legislation to enforce the existing rating system and prevent the sale of Mature and Adults-Only rated games to minors.
“Establishing the Canadian Advisory Committee is an effective way to take Canadian government and consumer interests into account without compromising the independence and integrity of the rating system that parents and consumers have come to rely on,” said Patricia Vance, President of the ESRB.
“The provinces collaborated in examining the ESRB rating system closely before deciding to adopt it under the new legislation,” added Henry Huber, Chair of the Industry Liaison Working Group of the Interprovincial Film Classification Council of Canada (IFCCC) and Chair of the Manitoba Film Classification Board. “We felt that the ESRB ratings provided parents and consumers with the content information they need to make informed rental and purchasing decisions. As well, the ESRB rating icons are large and prominently displayed on the front and back of all video games packages. However, we wanted to ensure that Canadian concerns were heard when establishing or making changes to ESRB rating system policies. The CAC will provide a formal venue for meaningful discussion and input into the ESRB rating system.”
*AC Nielsen research commissioned by ESAC, 2005