Partners in Protection (PIP) is a Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) program that enlists the cooperation of private industry to enhance border and trade chain security, combat organized crime and terrorism and help detect and prevent contraband smuggling.
It is a voluntary program with no membership fee that aims to secure the trade chain, one partnership at a time. PIP members agree to implement and adhere to high security standards while the CBSA agrees to assess their security measures, provide information sessions on security issues and offer other benefits. Member companies are recognized as being trusted traders, which allows the CBSA to focus its resources on areas of higher or unknown risk.
Through their partnership with the CBSA, PIP members contribute to the security of the supply chain and the facilitation of legitimate trade.
Partners in Protection (PIP) was developed in 1995 with a primary focus on promoting business awareness and compliance with customs regulations.
After the events of 9/11, the PIP program's focus shifted to place a greater emphasis on trade chain security, which included urging members to improve their physical, infrastructure and procedural security. A security questionnaire was developed with suggested security recommendations.
The importance of the PIP program increased in 2002 when a PIP membership became a prerequisite to participate in the Free and Secure Trade (FAST) program. FAST provides expedited border clearances into Canada for pre-approved importers, carriers and drivers.
On June 30, 2008, a strengthened PIP program was implemented with: minimum security requirements; mandatory site validations; denial, suspension, cancellation, reinstatement and appeal policies and procedures; and an automated application process.
These steps have ensured that PIP is aligned with international standards such as the Framework of Standards to Secure and Facilitate Global Trade (SAFE) of the World Customs Organization, which includes guidelines for Authorized Economic Operators. It also set the stage for PIP to enter into mutual recognition arrangements with similar programs in other countries.
Mutual recognition arrangements (MRAs) between PIP and compatible customs-trade partnership programs expand the international trade network of accredited low-risk companies. The MRA signifies that both countries apply similar security standards and similar site validations when approving companies for membership in their respective programs, and that both countries recognize each others' members and may grant them similar benefits.
MRAs allow customs administrations to work together to improve their capability to target high risk shipments while expediting legitimate cargo. To enhance cross-border security, the CBSA has signed Mutual Recognition Arrangements recognizing the compatibility of its PIP program with the following foreign programs:
The similarity between PIP's and C-TPAT's security requirements already makes it easier to apply for membership in both programs (a separate application form must be submitted to each program). Only one site validation may be necessary for applicants to both PIP and C-TPAT. However, both programs reserve the right to perform site validations and site revalidations.
PIP members can also benefit from expedited border clearance into Canada if they apply for and are approved by the Free and Secure Trade (FAST) program to use the FAST lanes into Canada. Remember that to apply for FAST entry into Canada, membership in both the Customs Self Assessment program and PIP is required.
In November 2009, Canada and the United States announced initiatives to streamline cross-border shipping, including the alignment of the PIP and C-TPAT programs. PIP and C-TPAT are collaborating on a single application process for those applying to both programs and are examining the standardization of their policies and procedures and the sharing of information.