Canadian parliamentCanada’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 Program.

  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 Program 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 Plan.

  1. 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 chain entities.

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.).

  1. 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.  An 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.

For more information, please contact Cyndee Todgham Cherniak at 416-307-4168 or at Alternatively, visit