The Single Window Initiative (SWI)

The Single Window Initiative (SWI) is an initiative of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) that allows importers submit all information related to their shipments electronically for customs clearance.

SWI helps importers meet the requirements of multiple government departments through the use of a single, electronic customs declaration.

How SWI Works

Through the Single Window portal, importers are able to submit one electronic customs entry containing all required details and supporting documentation required by CBSA and the Participating Government Departments and Agencies (PGAs).

There are currently nine (9) PGAs participating in SWI. Each PGA requires their own unique type of information and documentation. It is the Importer’s responsibility to ensure that all required data is accurate and submitted to CBSA and the PGA at the time of customs clearance.

Once received, the PGA and CBSA assesses the data submitted and makes a decision on customs clearance of the shipment.

Note: Some Other Governmental Departments (OGDs) still require paper submission of documents to CBSA at the time of clearance.

Participating Government Agencies (PGAs)

The SWI portal collects information for the CBSA and the nine PGAs for 38 government programs. Government departments and agencies participating in SWI include:

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

CBSA provides data requirements for each PGA and applicable products, with more data elements being posted as they become available.

Integrated Import Declaration (IID)

Under SWI, importers and customs brokers will submit an electronic Integrated Import Declaration (IID) to CBSA. The IID replaces the Pre-Arrival Review System (PARS) and Release on Minimum Documentation (RMD) service options and captures additional information required by the PGDs listed above.

The IID applies to both pre- and post-arrival and can be submitted to CBSA up to 90 days prior to the arrival of the goods.

Note: The legacy Other Government Department (OGD) release systems, PARS and RMD, were decommissioned as of August 17, 2020.

What SWI Means for Importers

The Single Window Initiative will mean that the amount of information required to clear your shipments may change and/or increase.

Therefore, to manage these requirements and avoid delays at the border, we recommend that you submit all required licenses and/or permits for PGA-regulated goods with your shipping documents.

If using a Customs Broker to clear your goods, you should provide all the required information and supporting documents related to your shipment to your broker.

We Can Help

PF Collins can help ease the transition to SWI and answer any questions you may have about the program.

If you have any questions regarding the Single Window Initiative or any other import/export matters, please contact your nearest PF Collins office.

We offer a full range of Customs Brokerage and Customs Consulting services to assist with all your importing and exporting needs.


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