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Single Window Initiative (SWI): Survival Guide for Health Canada (HC) Donor Semen

The new SWI landscape

The Single Window Initiative means several changes for importers:

  • how you need to submit documentation is in flux;SWI_series 2021_2
  • 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 – Donor SemenSperm_Donor_SWI_Computer_Series

The SWI data elements required for release include:

Importer contact name/ number/ email address

PGAs to contact importer for IID clarification

LPCO type/ authorization type

Importer must ensure that the product meets the appropriate licensing type to be imported.

LPCO number

For each document provided at the declaration level, the associated reference number related to that document must be provided.


Optional but allows for clearer identification of the product and may ease need for referral.

Commodity type

The Commodity type, declared by the broker/importer, will impact the LPCO Type and LPCO Reference Number.

Intended useDonor_132371465_s

The Intended Use, declared by the broker/importer, will impact the LPCO Type and LPCO Reference Number.

Processor declaration 

Required labelling requirement.

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.

In a world of ever-changing regulations and requirements, you need an experienced partner by your side. 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

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