Demystifying the Single Window Initiative (SWI) |'s Blog on Customs Brokerage and News Updates

Demystifying the Single Window Initiative (SWI)


It has been over 6 months since the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has been implementing the Single Window Initiative (SWI). It goes without saying that if your business imports goods into Canada, that this may affect how you do business. This means that your declaration will require further details than you have previously provided.

So, what is the SWI exactly?

Briefly put, the Single Window Initiative is a single point for advanced reporting to the CBSA. Single Point means that 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 Single Window Initiative will simplify 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 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.