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GS1 standards improve product flow across borders

Each year, millions of product shipments arrive at Canadian borders. As the volume of imports increases along with the globalization of trade, it has become evident that traditional inspection methods are unsustainable for ensuring efficient and secure product clearance.

A recent study by the U.S. government has shown that global GS1 standards including the ubiquitous bar code can help governments identify products quickly and accurately at international borders, while saving costs for both government and the trade community.

Following consultations with industry, GS1 Canada is engaging the federal government with a border visibility proposal. This proposal supports the import community in their aim to move goods more efficiently across the border.

Product Visibility At The Border

Agencies like Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), have a responsibility to protect the public from unsafe or high-risk products. But the absence of standards-based product classification and identification systems limits their ability to screen and admit products at the border.

Currently Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) is seeking an efficient, electronic way to provide regulatory agencies with the information they need to make admissibility decisions.

Canada-U.S. Beyond the Border Action Plan
Through the Beyond the Border Action Plan, the government has committed to providing traders with a single window through which they can electronically submit all information required to comply with customs and other government regulations. This information would then be assessed electronically by the relevant government departments and agencies, resulting in border-related decisions which would be transmitted electronically. Global GS1 standards and registries are key to enabling this capability, which will streamline border processes.

The adoption of GS1 standards addresses the challenges associated with imported product admissions by providing government with accurate, reliable product information based on global standards and existing e-commerce data.

To learn more about how GS1 standards can improve product admissions at the border, contact Forrest Parlee, Director, Public Affairs, GS1 Canada, at