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Single Window Initiative

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The Single Window Initiative was established many years ago by The CBSA (Canada Border Services Agency). It has progressed through several phases until we have reached the point it currently is at.

The Government of Canada Single Window Initiative (SWI) will establish an integrated solution for commercial trade processing that balances the security needs of the Government with today’s globally competitive business environment. At present, the trade community is required to provide paper documentation for the importation of commercial shipments that contain goods regulated by other government departments.

SWI will help increase the efficiency of the border process by providing importers and brokers with a “single window” through which all required information can be electronically submitted to comply with customs and participating government department and agency regulations, thus eliminating the need for paper. As a result, Canada’s SWI – similar to its US equivalent, the International Trade Data System – will help maintain the balance between facilitation and security of trade.

At this time, there are nine other government departments participating. (listed below) The anticipated initial implementation date for the first participants is expected to be July 2014. The CBSA took the lead with this initiative working diligently with other government departments by requesting they analysis all information they receive at the time of importation, when and where this information in required (do they need it prior to release or afterwards) and if it is really needed in today’s environment.

CBSA receives their data from customs brokers and importers through the ACROSS (The Accelerated Commercial Release Operations Support System) and it was expanded to receive the required data for other government departments by adding the appropriate data elements to their electronic mapping. The information collected is then passed to the appropriate government department in some cases prior to release and in others afterwards.

What does the CBSA hope to achieve? Firstly they hope to achieve some commonality of data with other countries, secondly they wish to get rid of the currently paper requirements and replace them with electronic data, thirdly they want to insure they only collect required data that is useful and ultimately make the process more transparent and efficient for importers.

As the initiative continues there will be change and we will keep our clients informed. We continue to be leaders in the electronic data interchange and will continue to do so into the future. You can expect some requirements of the other government departments will change. We are well positioned to assist our clients deal with these changes as it affects their businesses and accounting processes.

The nine participating OGDs are: Canadian Food Inspection Agency; Health Canada; Public Health Agency of Canada; Transport Canada; Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Development; Natural Resources Canada; Environment Canada; Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and Fisheries and Oceans.

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