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CFIA Postpones National Import Service Center Reductions

Posted 2/4/2019

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency had scheduled a reduction in hours of National Import Service Center Hours to encourage customs brokers and Importers to submit their CFIA controlled goods utilizing the Single Window (SWI) Initiative Integrated Import Declaration (IID).  Today CFIA notified industry the regular service hours would be maintained.  (See post dated 1/7/2019 for reduction in hours.)  CFIA also highlighted they expect customs brokers and importers to comply with the mandate by April 1st.  Standard NISC Hours are published on the CFIA website.)

Good Afternoon,

Based on feedback we recently received from industry, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has decided to continue to offer our regular service hours in the National Import Service Centre (NISC). Changes were announced on January 7, 2019 and were going to start on February 4, 2019.

Originally, the CFIA planned to reduce the hours of service in the NISC for processing import declarations transmitted using the Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) Other Government Department (OGD) Pre-Arrival Review System (PARS) and/or the OGD Release on Minimum Documentation (RMD) processes.

These changes were planned to:

  • encourage industry to start using the updated Integrated Import Declaration (IID) process
  • promote a smooth transition for customs brokers before the legacy systems are decommissioned by limiting the chance of last-minute transitions to the updated system
  • Allow the National Import Service Centre to focus their attention on the more efficient IID

While service hours will not be affected at this time, industry should continue to work towards full transition to using the Integrated Import Declaration (IID) when declaring CFIA-regulated imports to the Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA). 

Those who declare imports to CBSA, including customs brokers and import service providers are expected to be certified and to use the new IID by April 1, 2019.

Benefits of using the IID – increased efficiency and reliability

The IID makes the process for declaring CFIA regulated imports to the CBSA more efficient for customs brokers and commercial importers across Canada. With the IID, there is no longer a need to send the same import declaration to multiple parties, instead, the IID is submitted to the CBSA for validation and the information is transmitted to all appropriate Participating Government Departments and Agencies.

The IID is also more reliable than the previous EDI declaration methods. The improved system is less likely to malfunction, so by using it, you are less likely to experience delays at the border.

Before April, streamline your declaration using the IID process and experience:

  • A simplified import process
  • Reduced paper burden
  • The ability to transmit an electronic declaration up to 90 days in advance
  • Reduced time in processing one import transaction

We will continue to monitor uptake of the IID and consult with our other government departments and industry partners to determine appropriate timing for the implementation of new service hours in the NISC and will keep you informed of any changes.  

Become certified and start using the IID today

If you are not certified to use the IID yet, contact the CBSA’s Technical Commercial Client Unit:

Tel: 888-957-7224

Fax: 343-291-5482


Those who use a service provider should contact their provider immediately to discuss the testing and certification process.

Further information on the IID can be found on the CBSA’s website.

For questions, please call the CFIA's National Import Service Centre at 1-800-835-4486 (Mississauga) or 1-877-493-0468 (Montreal).

Thank you for your support and collaboration.