CARM: What all importers need to know about CARM

Universal Logistics - Take The Right Route Logo with 70 Years Badge


Single Window Initiative (SWI)

What the Single Window Initiative means for your business

Canadian importers have long wished there was a streamlined and standardized reporting system for import data – and now they have it with the Single Window Initiative (SWI), introduced by Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) in March 2017 with a phased in transition beginning April 1, 2019.

A young professional man in a blue shirt doing work at his office desk

As the importing community migrates over to SWI, CBSA will decommission existing OGD PARS and RMD service options – SWI becomes mandatory effective August 17, 2020.

In simple terms, SWI means import data forwarded to the CBSA will be automatically shared with nine Participating Government Agencies (PGAs), and will bring under one roof 38 government programs (see list of PGAs below). This is expected to be a significant improvement on the old process, which required many importers to make separate submissions of import data to the CBSA and applicable government agencies and departments.

Importers are responsible for providing the required PGA data elements to their customs broker – the broker then transmits the data and, where required, submits documents electronically to CBSA by way of the Integrated Import Declaration (IID).

Although the SWI reduces the manual handling of paper documents and streamlines the CBSA process once the entry is submitted, the initiative also significantly increases the amount of pre-arrival electronic data required for many commodities.

To meet deadlines, ensure readiness for the new data requirements and ensure compliance with the program overall, Canadian customs brokers needed to make significant system and process changes – Universal Logistics’ system is fully certified for SWI. Importers will also need to adjust their own internal processes, to account for the added data requirements.

Participating Government Agencies (PGAs)

You have questions about the Single Window Initiative. We have answers

  • Give the trade community the ability to electronically submit all import data in a single declaration, a simplification that will eliminate duplicate and redundant data requirements and processes
  • Reduce the paper burden on the business community and government
  • Align, to the extent possible, with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (U.S. CBP) and the World Customs Organization (WCO) data model

Data required by the CBSA Participating Government Agencies (PGAs) is submitted in a single declaration (i.e., single window), known formally as an Integrated Import Declaration (IID).

It is a four step process.

  • Step One: information required by the CBSA and PGAs is sent electronically to the CBSA.
  • Step two: CBSA transmits to the relevant PGAs any data they require.
  • Step three: PGAs review the information sent by CBSA and send back instructions on whether to release or hold the shipment.
  • Step four: CBSA forwards the instructions to the importer/broker to identify release vs rejection.

Yes, you will need to report more product information to satisfy the total data needs of the CBSA and applicable PGAs. Refer to PGA list above for specific requirements.

Your shipment will not be released. It is the responsibility of the importer to know what data is required by the CBSA and the PGAs that regulate the commodity you import.

Failure to provide correct information prior to final accounting may result in penalties under the Administrative Monetary Penalty System (AMPS).

No, after final accounting there is no mechanism to make changes to declared PGA data. As PGA data is utilized to make release decisions, revisions may be submitted as a “change” prior to arrival of the goods and as an “amend” after arrival but before release of the goods. Ensure PGA data provided is correct in order to avoid potential penalties.

The matching tool is on CBSA’s website and lists all regulated goods according to PGA.

Some PGAs have one matching criteria, for example, CFIA relies on HS only. Some have two – for example, Transport Canada. With Transport Canada, goods are regulated if there is match between the HS Code and the Exception Process. Health Canada has three criteria: Valid HS Code, Intended Use Code, and Canadian Product Category.

For HC, when all three criteria are met, the goods are regulated. If only one criteria applies, the goods are not regulated and no additional data is required on the IID.

Yes, information previously provided to PGAs after (in some cases) the goods are imported into Canada will now be required before the carrier’s arrival at the border. You can submit your IID up to 90 days prior to the arrival of the goods.

If your goods are subject to the requirements of a PGA with a mandatory reporting date of April 1st the new SWI/IID format must be used. The former Pre-Arrival Review System (PARS)/Release on Minimum Documentation (RMD) service options will no longer exist once all PGAs are mandatory.

With the deadline for compliance April 1, 2019, you should get started now as it takes time to confirm your reporting obligations. It is also important to remember that while there is a single reporting process, the data submission requirements can vary significantly, depending on what you are importing.

Universal Logistics is fully certified to submit IIDs and is offering that service to anyone who needs that assistance and will work with you to implement an effective and tailored SWI solution.

Switch to a Logistics
Partner Who Cares

Click the button below to find out why we’ve been Canada’s most trusted freight forwarder and customs broker for over 75 years.

Professional business people team meeting and working in corporate office concept

Register now to learn more about our

101 Logistics Quick Tips

Available exclusively from Universal Logistics