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Single Window Initiative (SWI), Integrated Import Declaration (IID) and Health Canada – What’s My Part?

All Pre-Arrival Release (PARS) requests with regulated goods for Participating Government Agencies (PGAs) will be required to be submitted via the Single Window Initiative (SWI). SWI dramatically changes how release information is transmitted and received by Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).

SWI is a single point for advance reporting of import information to CBSA and is the result of consultations with the trade community to make border release and PGA requirements and reporting easier by providing the information to the relevant PGA electronically.

There are currently nine (9) PGAs representing 38 government programs participating in SWI, with Health Canada being one of them. All information required by CBSA and PGAs will need to be provided in a single customs declaration via an Integrated Import Declaration (IID) which has many more data fields than the current customs declaration. These additional fields capture information on the imported goods that the regulating PGA need to know (this information was previously handled by paper at time of release or post-import). Health Canada is responsible for overseeing and administering import requirements for the following programs:

Consumer Product Safety
Human Drugs
Natural Health Products
Importation of Controlled Substances and Precursors,
Veterinary Drugs,
Radiation Emitting Devices
Blood and Blood Components
Cells, Tissues and Organs
Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients
Donor Semen
Medical Devices

As the importer, you best know your product and should be familiar with the information required by all Participating Government Agencies. This information should be shared with Willson International.

We require shipment specific details in order to determine if the goods to be imported are subject to any PGA reporting requirements. Due to the detailed nature and length of time to perform these reviews we require as much lead time as possible in order to prevent release delays.

Correct tariff classification is an important factor in determining the appropriate Health Canada program and the required reporting requirements. Each Health Canada program has its own reporting criteria. Reporting conditions can include Harmonized System tariff classification, intended end-use, and product category match. If the conditions are met there is a requirement to transmit and report those details to CBSA through SWI. Goods not subject to Health Canada intended for import may share the same tariff classification as a good subject to Health Canada reporting and will require verification prior to any release request submitted to CBSA.

Complete and detailed descriptions can include, but are not be limited to, make (brand name of product), batch number if available, date of manufacture, and any applicable licenses, permits or certificates MUST BE included with the customs documents. Product registration numbers such as Natural Product Number (NPN), Drug Identification Number (DIN) or other information that identifies your product such as Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) Chemical Number should be provided where applicable.

Please contact your Willson Regulatory Team if you have questions or need assistance with Health Canada reporting. (
or review the following links which provide information that will assist importers in determining the information that will need to be provided at the time of release.

Single Window Initiative – Data Element Rationales (Health Canada) – Provides details that must be included in the SWI submission

Regulated Commodities — Data Element Matching Criteria Tables (Health Canada) – Provides list of subject HS tariff classification and related HC program including intended end-use and Canadian Product Category

Regulated Commodities – Reference Code Tables (Health Canada) (Product Category) – Identifies the product category for imported goods based on HS tariff classification

Regulated Commodities – Reference Code Tables (Health Canada) (Intended Use Code) – Identifies the intended use for imported goods based on HS tariff classification

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COVID-19 is a global challenge. Keeping our supply chains moving is important for maintaining the health and wellbeing of citizens and businesses. While the Canada - U.S. border is now closed to non-essential traffic, it is still open for trade and commerce. We are committed to doing our part for global supply chains.

We are protecting the health and safety of our employees. They are working from home, except for critical functions that require certain equipment or managing paper/courier flow. In those cases we are following social distancing guidelines.

We are open and available to assist you, and key players in your supply chains. Our dedicated staff are available 24/7 and our brokerage and logistics experts are available to help you make adjustments to your supply chain, if necessary.

We encourage you to check out the government programs available to families, businesses, exporters and importers. And, while respecting the need for social distancing we encourage everyone, including our staff, to reach out and remain connected to family, friends, colleagues and customers.

Stay safe.

Peter Willson
Chairman & CEO
Willson International

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