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Single Window Initiative (SWI) - Survival Guide for Health Canada Consumer Products

The new SWI landscape

The Single Window Initiative means several changes for importers:

  • how you need to submit documentation is in flux;SWI_Series_03_2020
  • when that documentation is needed has changed; and
  • which documentation is required is also shifting.

Our goal is to help you understand what is expected for the new “how, when, and what” of SWI requirements relating to the items you ship. These updates guide importers through specific commodities or categories of commodities, and the Participating Government Agencies (PGAs) that are affected.

How, when, and what

  • Single Window Initiative requires all import documentation to be prepared and submitted before the shipment reaches customs.
  • SWI is a new way of submitting documentation. All docs will be submitted using the Integrated Import Declaration (IID). Some of the requirements for how you submit are changing. For example: some documents that needed to be faxed now require an uploaded electronic image or just the document number.
  • There may be changes to which documents are required under SWI.
  • The launch date of SWI is still unknown, but it’s time to get proactive and adjust your workflow to ensure paperwork is ready before you ship.

Why importers need to know

Under the new SWI, it’s important that you understand which Participating Government Agencies (PGAs) are regulating your products. Some products are regulated by multiple PGAs, and the PGAs regulating your products may have changed under SWI. Additionally, each PGA and the CBSA can issue penalties for incorrect and missing documents. Understanding what information and documentation is needed for clearance will make the clearance process into Canada smoother and more efficient.

Health Canada (HC) Consumer ProductsHealth canada (HC) Consumer products_SWI_Computer_Series

How does Health Canada (and other PGAs) define consumer product?

These are products, including components, parts, or accessories that may reasonably be expected to be obtained by an individual to be used for non-commercial purposes, including for domestic, recreational, and sports purposes, and includes their packaging.

Read more about the Canada Consumer Products Safety Act here.

Required data elements for Health Canada (HC) Consumer Products

The SWI data elements required for release include:

Intended end use

The product’s intended end use must be provided:

  • for sale or distribution
  • educational purposes
  • resale (second-hand use)
  • charitable purposes
  • repair purposes
  • for immediate re-exportation

Canadian product category

The product category must be provided and depends on the intended use of the product.

For sale or distribution:Shopping_50453711_s

  • Consumer product for infants (0-18 months)
  • Consumer product for toddlers (19-36 months)
  • Consumer product for children (3-6 years)
  • Consumer product for children (6-8 years)
  • Consumer product for children (8-12 years)
  • Consumer product for people aged 13+ years
  • Consumer product (for all ages)
  • Consumer chemical
  • Cosmetic

Educational purposes:

  • Consumer product (for all ages)

Resale (second-hand use):

  • Consumer product (for all ages)

Charitable purposes:

  • Consumer product (for all ages)

Repair purposes:

  • Consumer product (for all ages)

For immediate re-exportation:

  • Consumer product (for all ages)

Document type/document reference

Providing any information related to licences, permits, certificates, etc. is optional. However, offering this information may help to expedite communications in case of a referral.

  • HC Consumer Products: Cosmetics Product Number
  • HC Consumer Products: Safety Standard Certification
  • HC Consumer Products: Product Label (no reference number required)
  • HC Consumer Products: Other

Importer contact information

Health Canada requires contact information for all imports. The importer’s name, telephone number or email address is required for the release of consumer products.

Manufacturer contact information

This information Is optional, but recommended: manufacturer name, telephone number or email address.

Brand name

The brand name of the commodity may be required.

Product name

The product name of the commodity may be required.

Manufacture date

The manufacture date may be required.

Batch/lot number

The batch and lot number may be required.

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.

As you adjust to the new requirements and workflow of the Single Window Initiative, 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!

Speak to our SWI Support Team

SWI. It's what we do.

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