Canadian retailers and games publishers have announced a joint initiative aimed at curbing children’s access to violent and age-restricted videogames. The so-called "Commitment to Parents" program is still voluntary and is based on existing age ratings used on game packaging.
Most major Canadian videogame retailers already belong to the US-based Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), which voluntarily rates games and has always suggested that stores verify a customer’s age through some sort of ID.
Although the retailer initiative was welcomed by parents and teachers' groups, the Ontario government plans to introduce a mandatory ratings system, with heavy fines for retailers that fail to check customers' ID - steps which some other provinces have already taken.
Under the Ontario Theatres Act, fines for violating the rules range from $25,000 and a year in jail for individuals, up to $100,000 for corporations.