In the past, there was a wide range of rating categories and practices in the various provinces. However, the five rating systems outside Quebec now all use categories and logos derived from the Canadian Movie Rating System.
In general, these categories are:
G: General - Suitable for all. It contains no occasional violence, no swearing and coarse language, and the most innocent of no sexually suggestive scenes and nudity.
PG: Parental Guidance - Parental Guidance Advised. Theme or content may not be suitable for all children though there is no age restriction. May contain less subtle sexually suggestive scenes and nudity and a more realistic portrayal of violence than in the General category; coarse language may occur more often than in the General category.
14A: 14 Accompaniment - Suitable for viewers 14 years of age or older. Viewers under 14 years of age must be accompanied by an adult. No one younger than 14 may purchase or rent material with this category on home video. May contain violence (may be graphic in some cases), coarse language or sexually suggestive scenes, or any combination of them.
18A: 18 Accompaniment - Suitable for viewers 18 years of age or older. Viewers under 18 years of age must be accompanied by an adult. No one younger than 18 may purchase or rent material with this category on home video. Will contain horror, explicit violence, frequent coarse language or scenes that are more sexually suggestive than in the 14A category, or any combination of them. In the Maritimes and Manitoba, the child who is accompanied must be 18 or over, and persons under 14 will not be admitted (in a cinema).
R: Restricted - Restricted to viewers 18 years of age and over. Persons under 18 years of age are not permitted to attend under any circumstances. This category is not to be confused with the American R rating, which has a different definition (restricted to people 17 and over, but underage people accompanied by a parent is allowed). May contain explicit sex scenes, violence, or content that is deemed to be suitable only for an adult audience. The director assigns this category to motion pictures if the director considers that the theme, subject matter or plot of the adult motion picture is artistic, historical, political, educational or scientific.
A: Adult - Restricted to viewers 18 years of age and over. Persons under 18 years of age are not permitted to attend under any circumstances. May contain explicit sex scenes or scenes of brutality or torture to persons or animals, or any combination of them, which are portrayed in a realistic and explicit manner; however, the scenes would, in the director’s opinion, be tolerable to the community. This category is used only in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and the Maritimes (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island).
Video works that are given Restricted or Adult ratings are legally restricted, and it is against the law (enforced by every council in Canada, but not the board by itself) for anybody under age to obtain such material. In Maritimes and Manitoba, under provincial law, it is against the law for persons under 14 to view a film rated 18A in a cinema, even if accompanied by an adult.