Partners in Protection

Canadian FlagPartners 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. Industry strongly supports the PIP program and greatly values the commitment of PIP members to do their part, together with the CBSA, to secure the supply chain and facilitate legitimate trade.


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About Partners in Protection


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.

Signing of a mutual recognition arrangement with the U.S.

In 2007, under the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America, the Government of Canada announced $11.6 million in funding to strengthen the PIP program in order to achieve mutual recognition and compatibility with the U.S. Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) program.

This milestone was reached on June 28, 2008, when the CBSA signed an arrangement with U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

The signing of the arrangement enhances cross-border security as both countries now apply similar security standards and similar site validations when approving companies for membership in their respective trade security programs.

A modernized PIP program

On June 30, 2008, a strengthened PIP program was introduced. It implements minimum security requirements; mandatory site validations; denial, suspension, cancellation, reinstatement and appeal policies and procedures; and an automated application process.

These steps to strengthen the PIP program also ensure that it is better aligned with international standards such as the Framework of Standards to Secure and Facilitate Global Trade (SAFE) and the Authorized Economic Operator concept of the World Customs Organization.

Benefits of mutual recognition

  • 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 applicants to PIP and C-TPAT. However, both programs reserve the right to perform site validations of their members.
  • PIP and C-TPAT members can benefit from expedited border clearance into Canada and the United States if they apply for and are approved by the Free and Secure Trade (FAST) program to use the FAST lanes in both directions. Remember that to apply for FAST entry into Canada, Customs Self Assessment program approval and PIP membership are required.
  • 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.

Pacific Customs Brokers offers a series of Trade Compliance Seminars on topics varying from U.S. and Canadian Customs Compliance, NAFTA Rules of Origin, Harmonized System Tariff and Classification Workshop, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Canadian Food Inspection Agency and more. Each of Pacific Customs Brokers Trade Compliance Seminars provides a brief overview of PIP (Partners in Protection) and what your company can do to participate. For more information visit