Table of contents
- 1. Introduction
- 2. Procedures during CBSA Outages
- 2.1 Key Principles
- 2.2 Carrier Pre-Arrival and Reporting Procedures
- 2.3 Deconsolidation
- 2.4 Release
- 2.5 Warehouses
- 3. Post-Outage Procedures
- 4. Appendixes
The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) System Outage Contingency Plan sets out the procedures for the importation of commercial goods in all modes of transportation during a CBSA systems outage.
An outage is defined as a “temporary suspension of operations to the electronic systems". Please refer to Appendix A for a description of various types of outages and scopes/impacts.
It is important to note that the procedures outlined in Section 2 apply only in the case of CBSA outages.
1.1 Invocation and Revocation of Contingency Plan
The CBSA alone will invoke and revoke the contingency procedures through the issuance of bulletins by email.
Bulletins are issued in advance of scheduled outages and to communicate system status during unscheduled outages. System status updates will be provided at least every four hours during regular business hours. Messages will not be updated after regular business hours unless the outage is resolved. External partners should make the assumption that the outage is still ongoing unless a "resolved" message has been provided.
The Technical Commercial Client Unit (TCCU) of the CBSA sends these bulletins via e-mail to external partners. If you would like to receive these bulletins, you can register with the TCCU at the following link: http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/eservices/menu-eng.html#tab6_2.
The CBSA regional operations will continue to receive information about system outages through email notifications and other methods, as required.
1.2 Communications protocol during outages
The CBSA provides a "hotline" to assist external partners with technical issues or problems relating to the exchange of data with the CBSA. The telephone number for the hotline is 1-888-957-7224 from within Canada and the United States and +1-613-946-0762 from overseas. Select option 1 for EDI transactions.
This support is provided during regular business hours (8:00 to 17:00 ET), to clients currently using or seeking to use EDI or the eManifest portal. After hours emergency support is available through a call back service from 17:00 to 8:00 ET, Monday through Friday, weekends and on holidays. External partners are required to leave a detailed voice mail message and an officer will return the call.
The hotline is also used to provide information to external partners such as the status of CBSA systems in the event that there is an outage. The CBSA ensures that the hotline is updated immediately after a systems outage and/or backlog has been reported and is regularly updated throughout the outage period. Regular updates will be provided every four hours during regular business hours until the outage has been resolved. Messages will not be updated after hours until the outage is resolved or until regular business hours resume
Hotline messages will revert back to 'all systems are functioning normally' as soon as CBSA's technical support teams are notified that the outage has been resolved.
1.3 External Partner Outages
External partners will inform TCCU by telephone (see section 1.2) of unscheduled outages of their systems as soon as possible once they are made aware of an unscheduled outage and keep the CBSA updated on the status of the outage every four hours.
External partners will inform TCCU of scheduled outages at least 24 hours in advance and provide status updates every four hours.
In case of an outage, full paper documentation must be presented. For example, paper Cargo Control Documents (CCDs) and full paper release requests.
2. Procedures during CBSA Outages
2.1 Key Principles
- External partners are required to transmit all trade documents, processed via the contingency plan, once the outage is resolved - thus the recommendation to continue transmission of electronic data for queuing and expediting the recovery process.
- External partners unable or that have opted not to transmit the ACI via an alternate method of electronic communication will transmit the ACI information within 24 hours once the system functionality is restored; ACI information includes cargo, conveyance, and house bills and will be reported using the actual date and time of release.
- Once the system outage is resolved, the CBSA will provide a buffer time period of 2 hours before resuming normal activities.
- After the outage, once the EDI documentation including release requests have been processed by the CBSA, external partners will receive an electronic message and/or release notification.
- External partners must transmit data to the CBSA at least 120 minutes prior to the start time of any scheduled outage to ensure that pre-arrival transmission timelines are met for shipments expected to arrive at the border during the outage.
- No monetary penalties will be issued to external partners for ACI related infractions that occur during a scheduled or an unscheduled outage and for the two hours following system resumption.
- External partners will submit two copies of the complete paper documentation required before receiving their authorization to move or release.
- CBSA will stamp both copies of paper documentation, return one copy and retain one copy for post-resumption validation:
- Where the goods are released, the Border Services Officer (BSO) stamps each copy of the documentation.
- Where goods have been authorized to move in-bond, the BSO stamps the reverse side of the CCD.
- BSOs may request more information and/or refer any shipment to the secondary inspection area.
- The stamped copy of the carrier documentation serves as proof of report that:
- the requirements of section 12(1) of the Customs Act have been satisfied;
- the authority for the carrier to deliver goods; and
- the indication that the responsibility is now with the customs broker/importer to provide interim release data.
- External partners will retain all stamped paper documents presented during the outage as proof that all goods have been reported by the carrier and released or moved in-bond.
- Regardless of the outage condition, Other Government Departments (OGDs) requirements must be met prior to release.
- The Agency does not consider the presentation of the 14-digit transaction number to be proof that CFIA or OGD requirements have been met.
2.2 Carrier Pre-Arrival and Reporting Procedures
Carriers will need to provide a paper copy of the CCD to the importer or their agent for release purposes or to the warehouse operator for inland movement.
For further information on pre-arrival and reporting procedural requirements for import, in bond, in-transit and Freight Remaining on Board cargo, refer to the Memoranda D3 Transportation series relating to the particular mode of transportation. These include:
- (a) Memorandum D3-2-1, Air Pre-arrival and Reporting Requirements;
- (b) Memorandum D3-4-2, Highway Pre-arrival and Reporting Requirements;
- (c) Memorandum D3-5-1, Marine Pre-load/Pre-arrival and Reporting Requirements; and,
- (d) Memorandum D3-6-6, Rail Pre-arrival and Reporting Requirements.
- 2.2.1 Inland Movement
- Bonded carriers may make arrangements with the CBSA to have the goods transported in-bond to an inland sufferance warehouse. The BSO first determines if goods are admissible prior to authorizing any shipment to move in-bond. It is the carrier’s responsibility to notify the customs broker/importer of the change to the release office and sub-location code where the goods are to be moved.
- 2.2.2 Highway
- During an outage, carriers must fulfill their legislative obligation to report goods to the CBSA by presenting two copies of a CCD, or equivalent (stack manifest, PARS bar codes, print out of ACI EDI cargo transmittal), to the applicable CBSA office.
- Customs Self-Assessment (CSA) highway carriers submit a lead sheet with the CSA service option, the carrier code and the importer business number. The driver must also present a valid driver’s Commercial Driver Registration Program (CDRP)/Free and Secure Trade (FAST) card.
- For CSA clearances, carriers follow current procedures using the three barcodes on a lead sheet and should indicate “CBSA System Down at Time of Report”.
- For non-CSA clearances, the driver must produce the supporting documentation for each shipment (e.g., bill of lading, contract of carriage) upon request. Where release is requested at the First Point of Arrival (FPOA) each copy of the supporting documentation must include a 14-digit transaction number.
- The BSO reviews the documentation and makes a ‘release’, ‘authorize to move’, or ‘authorize to deliver’ decision for each shipment.
- 2.2.3 Rail
- Rail carriers are to submit a form A1 Train Report Inward to the nearest FPOA to where the train crosses, ensuring that there is a Cargo Control Number (CCN) indicated for each shipment.
- All unreleased rail cargo moves inland (see section 2.2.1) and is held until notification from the CBSA.
- 2.2.4 Air
- Air carriers are to present the flight number or Conveyance Reference Number (CRN) on paper for proof of report/arrival for conveyances.
- CSA air carriers to present a print out of air CSA data elements (Service Option 521) to CBSA for stamping as proof of report and authorization to deliver.
- 2.2.5 Marine
- Carrier to submit two copies of the Form A6 General Declaration and the Form A6A Freight/Cargo Manifest to the CBSA office at the first point of arrival.
During outage periods Freight Forwarders may perform deconsolidation by presenting paper house bills at the CBSA office where the goods are located.
Customs brokers/importers may obtain release during outages by presenting paper release requests in person at the CBSA office where the goods are located except for highway release at FPOA (see 2.4.1).
As outlined in D17-1-4, paper release requests will be presented with an EDI Exception lead sheet with the “System Outage” box selected.
- 2.4.1 Highway FPOA release
- In order to avoid significant border wait times at highway entry points as a result of CBSA systems outages, a streamlined release process is available for highway shipments clearing at the FPOA. This process is available only for highway clearances at the FPOA during CBSA systems outages.
- For release of highway shipments at the FPOA the carrier will present 2 copies of the CCD, or equivalent (i.e. stack manifest (if approved), PARS bar codes, print out of ACI EDI cargo transmittal), and lead sheet indicating "System Outage" plus any OGD permits, as required.
- A 14-digit transaction number is required for each shipment that is being cleared at the border. This number is obtained from the customs broker/importer. It is preferable that the transaction number be bar coded, however during a system outage, the CBSA will accept handwritten transaction numbers.
- Presentation of a transaction number for the purposes of obtaining release of the goods during a CBSA system outage is a commitment from the customs broker /importer to provide interim accounting or final accounting documentation after the system is restored and within the timeframes set out in Memorandum D17-1-5 Registration, Accounting and Payment for Commercial Goods.
- 2.4.2 Determining release status during an EDI outage
- The Accelerated Commercial Release Operations Support System (ACROSS) must be operational in order for the options below to be used and release requests must already be transmitted to the CBSA for processing prior to the system outage.
- Option 1 – Cargo Control Document
The client will present the paper CCD for the shipment, with a CBSA machine readable barcoded CCN or Transaction Number, at a CBSA office and indicate that they would like to know the release status. The BSO will verify the status in the ACROSS. In the event it is released, the BSO will release-stamp the CCD and return it to the client as proof of release.
- Option 2 - Multiple Shipment Release Query form
In order to streamline the querying of multiple shipments, the Multiple Shipment Release Query form (see section 4.2) may be used. The form may be modified by clients as long as the barcoded data remains CBSA machine readable.
- This form is to be submitted to the CBSA office of release. The original CBSA stamped copy will be returned to the client.
- 2.4.3 Acceptable Proof of Release during an Outage
- Acceptable proof of release includes a CBSA release-stamped CCD, Multiple Shipment Release Query form, or printed and stamped Release Notification System (RNS) message. Proof of release is acceptable in original or faxed form as long as the CBSA stamp is clearly visible.
During outages licensed warehouses will ensure paper record keeping is used to record goods taken into and released from warehouses.
Receive the paper CCD or equivalent from carrier to place goods in the warehouse.
Upon receiving acceptable proof of release (see 2.4.3) the warehouse operator releases the shipment from their warehouse.
If the warehouse operator receives a “referred for exam” notice for a shipment that was previously manually released, the CBSA requests that, if the shipment is still in their warehouse, the warehouse operator holds the shipment for examination.
3. Post-Outage Procedures
Upon system resumption all clients must electronically submit (within 24 business hours) all trade documents and notifications for shipments processed during the contingency period and correct any electronic messaging errors or rejects.
For shipments that were released on paper during an outage, customs brokers may use a Pre-Arrival Release System (PARS) service option when transmitting the release data when the system is functioning again.
3.1 Post-Outage Message Transmission
Clients must ensure all messages transmitted to the CBSA after an outage are submitted in the order listed below, in order to avoid receiving error or reject messages.
|Cargo||Must be transmitted/captured in CBSA system before the conveyance is transmitted/captured.||No specific order in which cargo and conveyance must be transmitted/captured.|
|Conveyance||Must be transmitted once all related cargo are captured in CBSA system.
Must be transmitted/captured in CBSA system before close message is transmitted/captured.
|No specific order in which cargo and conveyance must be transmitted/captured. Must be transmitted/captured in CBSA system before close message is transmitted/captured.|
|House Bills||Must be transmitted/captured in our system before close message is transmitted/captured.
It will not reject if transmitted/captured before primary cargo is transmitted/captured.
|Close||Must be transmitted/captured after all related house bills are transmitted/captured. It will not reject if transmitted/captured before primary cargo is transmitted/captured.|
|Releases||There is no order for releases to be transmitted, it can be transmitted/captured before or after cargo & conveyance.|
|Conveyance Arrival||There is no EDI highway arrival.||EDI conveyance arrival must be transmitted once all related cargo & releases have been transmitted/captured.|
|Cargo Arrival||For inland cargo, the arrival should be transmitted last.|
3.2 Late Accounting Penalties
Importers may be assessed late accounting penalties if accounting documents are not received within prescribed time limits. Relief may be granted in relation to delays caused by system outages, with the type and length of the outage determining how the relief will be processed:
- For all outages under 4 hours, customs brokers and importers are required to submit applications for waiver/cancellation to the Recourse Directorate (Fax: 343-291-7239 email: CBSA-ASFC_Commercial_Registration_Agrement_commercial@cbsa-asfc.gc.ca.
- For CBSA outages over 4 hours, Recourse Directorate will proactively waive late accounting penalties. TCCU will communicate the Recourse broadcast message regarding the proactive waiver within 1 business day of the outage.
- For Direct Connect, Value Added Network (VAN) or Customs Internet Gateway (CIG) outages over 4 hours, customs brokers and importers are required to submit applications for waiver/cancellation to the Recourse Directorate (Fax: 343-291-7239 email: CBSA-ASFC_Commercial_Registration_Agrement_commercial@cbsa-asfc.gc.ca).
- For CBSA outages of over a day, CBSA will extend the accounting time limit from 5 days to a period which includes the length of the outage. The late accounting penalty will not be assessed.
Customs brokers/importers should submit a waiver application immediately after a prospective penalty is identified on the Daily Notice, rather than waiting until the Monthly Statement of Account is generated. This will ensure, whenever possible, that the penalty will not be assessed on the Monthly Statement of Account if it is eligible to be waived.
4.1 Types of Outages
An unscheduled outage means that a problem has created a situation that was not expected and has caused some type of outage or delay. As it was unexpected, research and analysis must be conducted to locate and resolve the problem. There will be no estimated time of resolution until the research and analysis is completed and the problem has been identified.
A scheduled CBSA system outage is a scheduled outage that occurs for maintenance or a systems release of new functionality or problem fixes. A time period for the outage is established and published for the trade community in advance of the outage. This information is provided to allow our clients time to plan around the outage. Scheduled outages are scheduled to take place in the early mornings on weekends which coincides with the lowest volume of transaction processing. This is done to minimize the impact of the outage on clients.
Full CBSA system outage means that all CBSA systems; EDI, eManifest portal and CBSA internal systems are not functioning. Please note this outage type does not impact the ability to transmit data to CBSA, the data can be received and queued until the systems are back.
Delays in Processing – EDI means that the CBSA has a backlog of electronic messages through EDI for processing. Delays in processing is considered an outage anytime the CBSA is running 30 – 60 minutes behind in processing incoming/outgoing messages.
Delays in Processing – Portal means that the CBSA has a backlog of electronic messages coming through the portal for processing. A delay in processing is considered an outage anytime the CBSA is 30 – 60 minutes behind in processing incoming/outgoing messages or where response time is greater than 15 minutes.
Full EDI system outage means that the CBSA is not able to process any of the electronic messages being received or sent through EDI. However, it does not include the ability to transmit the data to CBSA, where it is received and queued until such time the EDI processing of the data is back online.
EDI inbound system outage means that CBSA is not able to receive any new inbound EDI messages from clients.
EDI outbound system outage means that the CBSA is not able to send messages to clients through EDI.
Full eManifest portal outage (inbound and/or outbound) means that the eManifest portal is not operational. An inbound portal outage means that the CBSA is not receiving information submitted through the eManifest portal. An outbound portal outage means that the CBSA is not able to post responses in the eManifest portal.
4.2 Multiple Shipment Release Query form
Release office: 453
Client name: Compliance Brokerage
Client ID: 12345
Client contact: John Doe 519 253 4584
or Cargo Control Number
|Barcoded cargo control number OR transaction number
Must be CBSA machine readable
|For CBSA use only
R = Released
NR = Not released
4.3 Multiple Shipment Release Query form – instructions to appear on the back of the form
This form was introduced with the deployment of the CBSA Systems Outage Contingency.
The purpose of the form is to reduce the paper burden and streamline the querying of release statuses during outages that impact RNS notices. This form may be used when EDI linkages are down and ACROSS is operational. Note, the CBSA is unable to provide the status of release when ACROSS is not functional.
Usage of the form
- Clients will obtain this form from the CBSA Systems Outage Contingency document published on the CBSA website.
- The form may be modified by clients as long as the barcoded data remains CBSA machine readable.
- This form is to be submitted to the CBSA office of release.
- Navigate to the RSTAT screen in ACROSS.
- Scan the barcoded CCN or transaction number provided by the client.
- If released write “R”, if not-released write “NR”. If the number is not on file write “N/A”.
- If the barcode is not machine-readable return the form to client for correction.
- The original CBSA stamped copy will be returned to the client.
When completed and stamped by the CBSA this form provides proof of release for only those transactions indicated as released per the above.
This form may be accepted by carriers and warehouse operators as proof of release in order to allow the movement of shipments during contingency periods. When systems resume release notices will be transmitted.
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