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Getting Ready for the Single Window Initiative – An Introduction

CBSA shoulder patch on officer.

What is the Single Window Initiative?

The Single Window Initiative (SWI) is a Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) initiative which seeks to modernize and align Canadian and U.S. import processing. Through SWI, importers will be able to provide all required import information, including information required by Participating Government Agencies (PGAs), electronically to the CBSA. This commercial data is shared between the Government of Canada and the Importer to ensure that regulatory requirements are met. The purpose is to provide the Importing Community with the ability to submit all information required electronically in one transmission to comply with government import regulations for all PGAs.

What is Changing?

SWI is a single portal where information on the imported good will be collected for the CBSA and any relevant PGAs. The CBSA will then transmit the required information to the appropriate PGA responsible for regulating the goods. The PGA will assess the information and provide any border-related decisions as required.

All information must be provided in a single report electronically, in a format called an Integrated Import Declaration (IID). The IID includes additional data fields over and above current processes, as it attempts to capture information on the imported goods which the regulating PGA will require.

As a result of this change, the amount of information reported to Customs will increase. Importers must ensure that all required licenses and/or permits are provided with their shipment documentation.

When will SWI be implemented?

The plan is for SWI to be implemented on April 1st, 2018. At this time, the CBSA will also decommission legacy Other Government Department (OGD) release service options.

Why is this happening?

This initiative is a response to calls from the trade community to simplify processes at the border by reducing the paper burden and integrating PGA requirements into import processes.  The SWI will improve the process of removing non-compliant commodities from the marketplace and promote legitimate trade.  There will be an improved awareness of regulatory requirements at the first point of arrival for the CBSA and other PGAs.

What are the Participating Government Departments and Agencies (PGAs)?

  • Canadian Food Inspection Agency
  • Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission
  • Environment and Climate Change Canada
  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada
  • Global Affairs Canada
  • Health Canada
  • Natural Resources Canada
  • Public Health Agency of Canada
  • Transport Canada

You can find a full list of PGAs on the CBSA’s website.

Are you ready for CBSA's Single Window Initiative?

Contact a Farrow Advisor to fully prepare your business for this fast-approaching CBSA initiative.

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