Partner in Protection (PIP) Program Enhancements

On June 30, 2008, Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) introduced a revised Partner in Protection (PIP) program. The PIP program encourages private industry to help the CBSA enhance border security, combat organized crime and terrorism, prevent contraband smuggling, increase awareness of customs compliance issues and secure the flow of legitimate goods and travelers across the U.S and Canadian border. The modernized program implements minimum security requirements; mandatory site validations; denial, suspensions, cancellations, reinstatement and appeal policies and procedures; and an automated application process.  

PIP is available to the entire trade community, including importers, carriers, brokers, warehouse operators and associations. Participation is voluntary, and there are no costs associated with joining. Participants receive such benefits as quicker processing of their shipments, improved security levels and procedures, greater familiarity with customs requirements, and an enhanced corporate reputation.

The planned changes to the PIP program include, but are not limited to:

  • Minimum-security criteria for each sector will be indentified in these areas: conveyance security, data and documentation protection, personnel security, physical security, procedural security, and supply chain security. Sectors include air, highway, rail and marine carriers, importers/exporters, warehouse operators, couriers and customs brokers;
  • A Security profile will replace the current Security Questionnaire. The Security Profile will be divided into generic sections for all applicants and into sections specifically developed for each business sector. The Security Profile is available at the CBSA’s website; 
  • A revised Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) will replace the current General MOU and Carrier MOU, making it one document. The MOU is a partnership between the CBSA and PIP participants, working in the revised MOU will ensure that the CBSA and participating companies are aware of their roles and responsibilities as partners, and also are aware that companies can be removed or suspended from the program. The revised MOU is available at the CBSA website; 
  • New PIP policies will explain the circumstances under which applications will be denied and membership will be suspended, reinstated or cancelled;

Benefits of mutual recognition include:

  • PIP’s security requirements will be better aligned with those of the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) program in the U.S to enhance border security. The goal is to make security requirements of the two programs more compatible and to achieve mutual recognition between the programs;
  • PIP’s new requirements will align the program more closely with international standards such as the World Customs Organization’s (WCO) Framework of Standards to Secure and Facilitate Global Trade (SAFE Framework) and the European Community’s Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) program;
  • The similar security requirements for PIP and C-TPAT make it easier to be eligible for both programs (a separate application must be made to both programs);
  • Only one site validation may be necessary for application to PIP and C-TPAT. However, both programs reserve the right to perform site validation of their members;
  • Members of both programs are eligible to use Free and Secure Trade (FAST) lanes in both directions and therefore benefit from expedited border clearances (members must apply separately to FAST in Canada to be eligible to use FAST lanes going into Canada);
  • Companies that are members of PIP and C-TPAT can benefit from having an enhanced reputation as being a low-risk company by demonstrating their adherence to high security standards;
  • Members are better positioned to achieve international recognition. 

For more information on PIP requirements visit the CBSA website.