Accelerated Commercial Release Operations Support System (ACROSS)
The Accelerated Commercial Release Operations Support System (ACROSS) is an automated customs clearance system used by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). It is used to expedite the processing of commercial goods entering Canada. The system is based on advance information provided by businesses about their shipments, and it allows CBSA to pre-approve the cleared goods for release. This saves businesses time and money, as they don’t need to wait in line at the border to have their goods cleared.
The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) is the government agency responsible for border security, immigration enforcement, and customs services. The CBSA was formed in 2003 as a result of the merger of the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency with the border enforcement functions of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and the Passport Office.
The CBSA is accountable to Parliament through the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. The President of CBSA reports directly to the Minister. The CBSA’s mandate is to enforce over 90 acts and regulations related to trade, travel, and tourism, as well as to protect Canadians from terrorist threats. information.
In the wake of the 2001 terrorist attacks, Canada joined with the U.S., U.K., Australia, and New Zealand to create a cooperative framework for security and trade called the Five Country Conference (FCC). As part of this framework, FCC created a “trusted trader” program – members who successfully complete the program will be allowed to move goods across the border faster through ACROSS.
The countries participating in ACROSS are Canada, United States, Australia, New Zealand and the U.K.. Under this agreement CBSA is responsible for processing trusted trader shipments entering Canada. Specifically it reduces the need for pre-approvals by commercial importers and the need to manually release these shipments. This allows for faster processing of goods crossing international borders, as well as greater security from organized crime and terrorism.
Trusted traders are granted access into ACROSS by meeting strict standards that demonstrate their commitment to compliance. Once inside ACROSS, trusted trades enjoy priority clearance into Canada, which is tracked in real time through a secure web portal (known as N-ACROSS). Trusted traders can use this system to track their own shipments or verify they have been cleared by CBSA.
The following types of companies may apply for participation in the program:
• Manufacturers who import components for assembly / manufacture;
• Importers involved with wholesale / retail business;
• Transportation companies with complex supply chains;
• Third-party logistics providers (3PLs) involved in the movement of goods for multiple clients; and
• Manufacturer’s representatives / agents.
Membership into ACROSS is a privilege that can be revoked if the trusted trader does not comply with CBSA regulations or fails to provide accurate information upon application. To ensure compliance, membership is automatically cancelled any time a member’s Customs Identification Number (CIN) expires. For this reason it is important to also maintain an active GST account number as both these numbers are linked together by CRA using your SIN number. In addition members who have been exited from ACROSS must wait six months before applying again to re-enter the program.
Membership in ACROSS does not supersede or replace existing participant agreements with other government agencies such as CBSA, Department of National Defence (DND), Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), and Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO). For example, an import broker with a CIN must continue to file their own commercial documents; member companies are still responsible for having documentation completed correctly by their customs brokers and/or agents.
ACROSS members who want to use N-ACROSS can sign up using a simple registration process that takes approximately two weeks to complete. While participation requirements vary based on industry type, all applicants need:
• A valid GST account number;
• A valid CIN;
• A valid SIN number; and
• The ability to receive email (digital signature)
Once their application is approved, trusted traders are assigned an ACROSS user name and password.