Trade Compliance

GHY discusses changes to international trade regulations and explores cutting-edge compliance strategies.

Are You Ready For CBSA’s Single Window Initiative?

Posted April 12, 2018


The Canada Border Services Agency recently announced that it has extended two key deadlines to get on board with the government’s Single Window Initiative (SWI), a new system meant to simplify border processes for a wide range of regulated goods.

Launched in 2015, the SWI provides one point of access for the advance reporting of commercial import data to CBSA along with all of the information required by other government departments and trade partner agencies such as Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency in a single declaration. The aim of the initiative is primarily to eliminate needless redundancy in the data collection process, while also reducing the costly burden of handling paper documents.

Although SWI is a direct response to calls from businesses to simplify the process at the border and integrate government requirements into one process, adoption by the trade community has been far slower than anticipated. A report last year by the federal Auditor General found that the initiative was being used to process less than 1% of shipments entering Canada; a figure that has reportedly climbed to just 5% as of last month.

Stating that it “recognizes the transformative change SWI adoption represents to the trade community” and acknowledging that the initial system changes required to account for the various data requirements of the nine participating government departments and agencies can be a complicated undertaking, the CBSA has extended the deadline for mandatory use of the SWI’s Integrated Import Declaration to January 1, 2019. By this date, all clients are expected to have completed testing and be certified to transmit via the new declaration.

Additionally, the CBSA has extended the deadline by which certain legacy service options will be phased out to April 1, 2019. As of this date, the CBSA plans to decommission (or “sunset”) both the Release on Minimum Documentation and Pre-Arrival Review System services for imported goods that call for information required by other government departments.

Are You Ready?

Companies are warned that as these options are being wound down during the first quarter of next year, delays in the processing of shipments using these legacy services may be experienced. To avoid such problems, everyone is therefore strongly encouraged to utilize SWI instead.

We are proud to be an early adopter of the SWI, ensuring that all our clients have a smooth transition when SWI becomes manatory for all importers. If you should have any questions or concerns about the Single Window Initiative, please don’t hesitate to contact us.