Canada’s Partner’s in Protection (“PIP”)
Program is a cooperative trusted traveller program between the
Government of Canada (in particular, the Canada Border Services
Agency (“CBSA”)) and private businesses engaged in
importing and exporting activities (and suppliers thereto).
The purpose of the PIP program is cross-border trade chain security
and trade facilitation of legitimate cargo by reducing risks to
Canada’s security, health, environment and economy from
supplier to customer origin to destination. While the PIP
Program clearly has a trade chain security objective, it also has
as an objective the facilitated clearance of legitimate cargo and
use of FAST lanes at the border.
The PIP Program is a voluntary program pursuant to which private
businesses may apply and demonstrate that they pose low risk to
trade chain security and, therefore, are trusted businesses.
Private businesses must provide detailed information, which will be
provided to the CBSA, the United States Department of Homeland
Security and other governmental agencies. There is no
statutory obligation to participate in the discretionary and
regulatory PIP Program.
There is no membership fee to participate in the PIP
Program. Participants in the PIP Program are required to
satisfy terms and conditions in order to join the PIP
Program. In addition, participants in PIP must continue to
abide by the rules of the PIP Program in order to remain in the PIP
1. Origins of the PIP Program
The PIP Program was established in 1994 by the Canada Customs
and Revenue Agency as a customs/regulatory compliance program known
as Customs Carrier Memoranda of Understanding Program. After
9-11 and the introduction of C-TPAT in the United States, the PIP
Program transformed into a program designed to enhance trade chain
security. In 2002, the importance of PIP evolved and
participants in the Customs Self Assessment were required to also
participate in PIP. In June 2008, the CBSA announced a
complete overhaul of the PIP Program that affected approved
participants and potential participants in the future. On
June 30, 2008, the CBSA introduced the new PIP Program. The
PIP Program continues to evolve under the Beyond the Border Action
2. PIP Program Overview
The PIP Program is open to manufacturers, suppliers to
manufacturers, importers, couriers/carriers (by highway, air, rail
or marine), freight forwarders, shipping agents, customs brokers,
warehouse operators, etc. that own or operate facilities in
Canada. An applicant must be actively and directly involved
in the exportation from and importation of goods to Canada.
Participants fit into two categories; being members or
associates. Members receive the benefits of full
participation. Associates do not receive membership
benefits. Rather, the associates (such as lawyers,
consultants, trade associations, port or airport authorities, etc.)
receive information about the PIP Program
The benefits of participation in the PIP Program is more
efficient processing of transactions at the border. Low risk
trusted travellers are moved more quickly and CBSA efforts are
directed at those persons who have not proven to be secure supply
In addition, a participant in the PIP Program is required to
undertake activities to know suppliers, service providers,
employees, customers, etc. In protecting the trade chain,
they protect their business interests. In protecting their
business interests, they achieve greater control of unwanted
activities (e.g., smuggled goods, stolen goods, etc.).
3. Harmonization of PIP Program and C-TPAT Program
The PIP Program is the Canadian version of the U.S. Customs
– Trade Partnership Against Terrorism
(“C-TPAT”). On June 28, 2008, the CBSA and USCBP
entered into a Mutual Recognition Agreement (“MRA”)
between the PIP Program and the C-TPAT Program. A MRA is a
document that: (1) formally sets out security
requirements/standards both countries must establish and implement;
and (2) recognizes the compatibility of trade chain security
programs relating to cargo.
The Canada-US arrangement went further than a typical MRA in
that many trade chain security programs were harmonized, which goes
beyond recognition. On June 30, 2008, Canada unveiled
an enhanced PIP Program that: (1) introduced new membership
categories; (2) new minimum mandatory security standards; (3) new
MOU with participants, and (4) revalidation. Under the harmonized
PIP/C-TPAT Program, Canada and the United States have worked to
harmonize the programs to the extent possible. A single
application process has been developed for companies applying to
both PIP/C-TPAT programs. However, upon approval via one
validation process, only one account is set up for both
programs. Under the MRA, participants in the United States
are managed by U.S. CBP. Participants in Canada are managed
by the CBSA.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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While that agreement mandated export measures on Canadian softwood lumber exports destined for the United States, it also protected those lumber exports from the potential imposition of onerous import measures by the U.S.
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