Request Info

Getting comfortable with Single Window Initiative (SWI)

SWI (Single Window Initiative) has changed the way importers in Canada submit their information to CBSA. Our Survival Guide series digs into the PGAs (participating government agencies) and the requirements for specific programs—but here’s a refresher on all things SWI.

What information is required under SWI?

SWI_series 2021_3

Single Window Initiative requires importers to provide a clear description of their product(s). 

Each participating government department requires certain information about the product so they can make an accurate (educated) decision on whether it is safe to allow the product to be imported into Canada. 

The HS code is used to start the process and see if the product is regulated under one or multiple PGAs. (Some HS codes may match to multiple PGAs but that does not mean the product is regulated by all the PGAs.)

The main characteristics of a product—and the intended end use of that product—are the criteria most PGAs will use to help make the decision if a product is regulated or not.

Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has created a table to help with data matching criteria here.

How do importers submit their information?

This information is submitted electronically by your Customs Broker.

Where should importers look for up-to-date info on requirements?

  • Check out our SWI Survival Guide blog post series. We cover all the requirements for specific PGAs and programs—and we add more posts regularly.
  • The CBSA’s data matching site above is helpful.
  • There is a lot of great information here covering each of the specific PGAs.

What are the major changes for importers under SWI?

The major change is that all the information is submitted electronically. The PGAs (formally OGD) have always required information to be submitted in various ways but now we have one format to submit this information.

For SWI, being proactive is your best strategy—gather all your information and documentation as far in advance as possible. Importers who know the requirements for the products they’re importing, and understand the new processes under SWI, will have a much smoother import experience.

And remember: we're here to help. Our customs team is ready to help you understand the SWI and its new requirements for your commodities—contact us today!

SWI. It's what we do.

Speak to our SWI Support Team

Back to blog list