Single Window Initiative SWI and You

 In Blog, Customs Brokerage

It has been over 6 months since the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has started testing and implementing the Single Window Initiative (SWI).  CBSA announced it “recognizes the transformative change SWI adoption represents to the trade community” and as a result has extended the deadline to onboard SWI to January 1, 2019.

It goes without saying that if your business imports goods into Canada, that this may affect how you do business. For this reason, your declaration will require more detail than previously provided.

So, what is the SWI exactly?

Briefly put, the Single Window Initiative is a single point for advanced reporting to the CBSA. Customs, in addition to other government departments (OGDs) will collect the information they need from you within a single declaration. We mention advanced reporting because this declaration will be required BEFORE the goods arrival at the border.

The intention here, as you may have guessed, is to streamline the reporting process for declarations. The SWI simplifies the process by allowing for digitally sharing the required information to all involved government agencies to check for compliance.  The CBSA, in collaboration with 9 OGDs will be participating the the SWI, which will allow for customs brokers to have a single point of entry for reporting of required information. The CBSA will then send the information to the appropriate agency for assessment.

Here are a list of agencies that may be involved in your declarations process:

Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission

Environment and Climate Change Canada

Fisheries & Oceans Canada

Global Affairs Canada

Health Canada

Natural Resources Canada

Public Health Agency of Canada

Transport Canada

This initiative will also contribute to the government’s goal of going paperless, work to reduce redundancy and to closely align with US Customs and Border Protection (USCBP) and the World Customs Organization (WCO).

While the responsibility has shifted onto importers to provide additional information on their shipments, CBSA will be responsible for transmitting the required information to the applicable government agency.


To help you navigate through the complex compliance landscape (and avoid the penalties that can come from non-compliance), Community Customs Brokers’s team of professionals can provide answers to these and many other pressing questions related to doing business in Canada as an Importer/Exporter.


Contact us today for a free consultation.

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