Customs Programs

Single Window Initiative

The Single Window Initiative (SWI) offers the potential for produce importers to streamline and simplify the import process, with less paperwork and possibly faster processing times. Through SWI, importers can submit the import information required by the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) and other government departments electronically to the CBSA through the Integrated Import Declaration (IID). CBSA then transmits the information to the appropriate government department or agency responsible for regulating the goods for their assessment. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), responsible for regulating imports of fruits and vegetables, is one of seven departments and agencies currently live on SWI.

To help our members understand Single Window Initiative and its impact, CPMA created a list of Frequently Asked Questions.

On January 20, 2016 CPMA hosted a webinar on SWI with participants from CBSA and CFIA to discuss the data requirements, the benefits to importers and what you need to know so that you and your broker can get onboard. It also discussed how the IID can be used to simplify the importation of shipments with loads from multiple vendors. To view this webinar, please contact Jane Proctor at or 613-226-4187 x212.

Tracking of Industry Customs Issues

Importation delays and high costs related to customs inspections can severely affect the sale of produce in Canada. That is why CPMA works with members to address customs problems they encounter, be they systemic issues making importation more difficult or one-off critical problems relating to a particular load. CPMA is a member of Canada Border Services Agency’s (CBSA) Border Commercial Consultative Committee (BCCC) and many of its sub-committees, which is CBSA’s high level forum for industry consultation on customs policy. Through this forum, CPMA is well placed to ensure that the produce voice is heard and taken into account on customs policy and to address problems that our members are facing.

In recent months, CPMA has heard from members of an increase of delays and high costs relating to inspection, particularly when arriving via marine mode. CPMA is working with CBSA to try to address these issues and ensure that the particular needs of highly perishable produce are understood. However, in order to ensure that CBSA understands the scope of the problem and the need to take action, data is needed on the volume of loads diverted for inspection, the delays, costs and other issues that have been encountered when this happens.

CPMA is asking members who have encountered delays related to customs inspections to share this information with us by completing the spreadsheet found here.  If the data is available, we would ask that you include events going back to January 2016. If that is not possible, we would request that you track the problems you encounter through the summer and fall. While the increase in problems we’ve heard most about related to marine, please also share problems that you have encountered in highway or air modes so that CPMA can better assess if action needs to be taken there as well.

Your assistance in this would be much appreciated and will help us work towards a smoother border process for our industry. Please note that all information provided will be kept confidential. Any information shared with CBSA will be in aggregate and will not include company names or details on specific incidents.

If you have any questions or to let us know that you would like to participate, please contact Jane Proctor at
or 613-226-4187 x212.

Industry Best Practices - CBSA Import Requirements and Produce Examinations (Highway Mode)

As a result of ongoing concerns brought forward by the produce industry regarding damage to produce during inspections and off-loading, the Canadian Produce Marketing Association, industry members and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) collaborated to develop Industry Best Practices – CBSA Import Requirements and Produce Examinations (Highway Mode) in order to further improve the importing process for both industry and the CBSA.  A similar document will be used internally by CBSA to ensure proper handling of produce during examinations at border crossings.

Click here to download Industry Best Practices – CBSA Import Requirements and Produce Examinations (Highway Mode).


A joint Canada–United States initiative involving the Canada Border Services Agency and the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP). FAST supports moving pre-approved eligible goods across the border quickly and verifying trade compliance away from the border.

Partners in Protection (PIP)

PIP enlists the cooperation of private industry in efforts to enhance border security, combat organized crime and terrorism, increase awareness of customs compliance issues and help detect and prevent contraband smuggling.

Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT)

A voluntary government-business initiative to build cooperative relationships that strengthen and improve overall international supply chain and U.S. border security. C-TPAT offers trade-related businesses an opportunity to play an active role in the war against terrorism. By participating in this first worldwide supply chain security initiative, companies will ensure a more secure and expeditious supply chain for their employees, suppliers and customers.


Designed to expedite the border clearance process for low-risk, pre-approved travellers into Canada and the United States. The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) are cooperating in this joint venture to simplify border crossings for members, while enhancing security.

To become a member in this program, you must:

  • submit an application and go through a registration process;
  • satisfy the eligibility criteria;
  • be admissible in Canada and the United States; and
  • pass risk assessments by both countries.


eManifest, a major Government of Canada initiative, is about getting the right information at the right time to enhance the ability of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to identify potential threats to Canada, while facilitating the movement of low-risk shipments across the border.

The eManifest initiative is the third phase of the Advance Commercial Information (ACI) program. ACI phases 1 and 2 require air and marine carriers to submit pre-arrival cargo and conveyance information electronically, within advance time frames.

When fully implemented, eManifest will require trade partners in all modes of transportation (air, marine, highway and rail) to submit cargo, crew/passenger, conveyance, secondary and importer data to the CBSA prior to arrival at the border. eManifest is being implemented over a number of years, by client type, using an 18-month implementation timeline. Launched November 1st, 2010.

Automated Import Reference System (AIRS)

AIRS is a user-friendly, searchable database of CFIA import requirements. Through a series of questions and answers, the system will lead you through the applicable regulations and policies to information on all CFIA import requirements for specific commodities.

CFIA Import Service Centre

Import Service Centres process import request documentation/data sent electronically or by fax by the importing community across Canada. CFIA staff review the information and return the decision either electronically to Canada Border Services Agency, which then relays it to the client, or by fax directly to the broker/importer, who then submits the release package to CBSA.

Customs Self Assessment Program (CSA)

As part of the Customs Action Plan, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) introduced the Customs Self Assessment (CSA) program, a progressive trade option for clients who invest in compliance.