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Canada’s Single Window Initiative (SWI)

Canadian Requirements

What importers need to know

To support trade and commerce while enhancing border and supply chain security, Canada and the U.S. worked together to formulate a vision for highly efficient and secure cross-border trade. In a February 2011 Declaration by Canada’s Prime Minister and the U.S. President, the countries announced a new long-term partnership built upon a perimeter approach to security and economic competitiveness.

This means working together, not just at the border, but beyond the border to enhance our security and accelerate the legitimate flow of people, goods and services.

To bring this shared vision to reality, Canada and the U.S. forged an Action Plan detailing 32 priorities—including Canada’s Single Window Initiative, or SWI.

Like U.S. Customs, Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) will soon provide a ‘single window’ through which importers can electronically submit the information needed to satisfy the import regulations and information requirements of all interested federal government agencies, or PGAs (Participating Government Agencies).

To delve into the PGAs and their information requirements, follow the links below.

A streamlined (and sensible) approach to cross-border trade

For many types of goods entering Canada, importers were once required to submit information about their shipments to multiple government agencies. SWI eliminates duplication and saves time by allowing importers to provide all required information on imported goods in a single submission.

CBSA shares this information with the appropriate PGAs, which in turn assess the information and provide any border-related decisions.

Although SWI will, in some cases, require more information than before, the trade community will benefit from the alignment of Canadian and U.S. customs processes, removal of non-compliant commodities from the marketplace and a simplified submission for imports.

SWI implementation date

UPDATE: CBSA Single Window Initiative – Deadline for Mandatory Decommissioning of OGD PARS and OGD RMD Delayed

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) — in partnership with participating government agencies — announced on March 22, 2019, it is going to responsibly implement SWI by not imposing a mandatory go live on April 1, 2019. 

April 1 had been the deadline to "sunset legacy service options OGD PARS and OGD RMD." CBSA SWI webpage will provide more information on implementation dates in the coming weeks. 

The Single Window Initiative allows importers and their brokers to submit a single electronic declaration through Canada’s Integrated Import Declaration (IID), containing the data required by CBSA and the nine other PGAs to make import-related decisions.

All data elements required for clearance are provided to relevant PGAs before goods arrive at the border. The IID also eliminates the need to present some paper documents at the border.

Previous to the Single Window Iniative, importers submitted import data through the Other Government Department/Pre-Arrival Review System (OGD/PARS) or the Other Government Department/Release on Minimum Documentation (OGD/RMD) service options.

Import processes
not covered by IID

Some Customs-related processes are either outside the scope of SWI or require paper documentation upon arrival at the border. The following are not currently included in an IID transmission.

  • Temporary importations (e.g., E29B, ATA Carnet)
  • Diplomatic goods carried by a commercial carrier
  • Orders in Council
  • Personal goods imported through CBSA’s travellers’ stream
  • Settlers effects
  • Returning residents
  • Estimated to Arrive and Value Included
  • Courier/Low-Value Shipment processing
  • Commercial “C” Type (Cash) B3 entries

We can help!

As an importer adjusting to SWI’s requirements and the new flow of information, you may have questions about how it works and what’s required for your business. Our customs professionals are available to help you understand SWI and take full advantage of the efficiencies it offers.