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Single Window Initiative 101

What is SWI again?

Single Window Initiative (SWI) is a more efficient way of sharing product data between the government departments that regulate your products. There are nine government departments that enforce 38 different regulatory programs. 

SWI allows data elements to be transmitted to the CBSA and these government departments in one transmission.

Why is my customs broker asking me so many more questions?SWI_Series_01_2019-1

Before SWI, it was up to you, the importer, to know the regulations on your products. It was also up to you to report information to these government departments yourself. 

Customs brokers were required to complete some regulations before goods could be imported. Paper hard copies of information and documentation for some imports, for example explosives permits, needed to be sent in order for goods to be released by the CBSA. 

Under SWI, however, customs brokers are required to supply this information in one detailed electronic transmission to the CBSA and the regulating government departments.

So, your customs broker is asking about all (not just some) of the regulations associated with your goods.

What do I need to know about my goods?

Importers should know exactly which participating government departments regulate your goods. Investigate each product thoroughly! You want to ensure that there are no hold-ups once your goods reach the border—and ensure that your goods won’t be refused entry into Canada.

Where do I go for SWI support?

Scroll through our comprehensive SWI Survival Guide blog series. We've got all the requirements for most of the 38 government programs regulating goods under SWI. Canada Border Services Agency also has a lot of information to help guide you, including links to each participating government department’s pages.

Cole’s Technical Service Reprepresentative can also get you started. We’ve been in the customs brokerage business for more than half a century. We’re ready to help.

SWI. It's what we do.

Speak to our SWI Support Team

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