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Partners in Protection
Before you apply: Create a Trusted Trader portal account

From: Canada Border Services Agency

Before you can apply to the Partners in Protection (PIP) program, you first need to create an account for your company in the Trusted Trader portal. Once your account is set up, you may then apply to the PIP program through the portal.

Technical requirements

To use the portal, you must use either Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome.

If you already have a Trusted Trader portal account, proceed to How to apply to Partners in Protection.

Step 1:
Choose a credential for your account

Credentials allow the Government of Canada to authenticate your identity. They provide you with safe and secure access to information and services.

Note: All individuals from your company that will become Trusted Trader portal users need to set up their own credential to access the portal.

There are 2 types of credentials to choose from:

  • GCKey
  • Sign-In Partner

Read the following explanations to choose the best option for you. After you register for one of these credentials, you will receive a user reference number (URN).


To use GCKey as your portal credential, you will create a unique username and password of your choosing. This protects your online communications with the Government of Canada.

If you frequently access other Government of Canada online services, you should choose GCKey as your credential to access the Trusted Trader portal. This way, you will use the same GCKey username and password to access all these services.

Do not share this username and password with anyone.

Note: You can't use the following characters in your password: "<>¢£¤¥¦§¨©ª«¬®¯°±²³´µ¶•¸¹º»¼½¾Ð×ØÞßðøþ.

Find out more about GCKey.

Partner

This credential is offered in collaboration with participating financial institutions.

Note: You must already have a credential (a username and password) with one of the participating financial institutions.

Follow these steps to access the Trusted Trader portal using Sign-In Partner:

  1. On the portal sign-in page, select the Sign-In Partner option
  2. Link a username and password combination
  3. These should be the ones you already use to access an existing account with one of the partner financial institutions
  4. Proceed to create your portal user account

User reference number

After you register for a GCKey or link a Sign-In Partner credential to the Trusted Trader portal, you will receive a confirmation email with a user reference number (otherwise known as a URN). Keep it in a safe place for future reference.

What to do if your user reference number expires?

How to transfer account ownership?

Step 2:
Choose your account owner

Understand the actions available to each of the 4 user roles before assigning them to employees.

It is important to carefully select who from your company will be the account owner. Only the account owner can submit the application to the CBSA for review.

All users of the Trusted Trader portal:

  • must have their own credential and user reference number (see Choose a credential for your account for more information)
  • should keep their contact information up to date
  • should understand the responsibilities and limitations of their role

Actions available to each of the user roles in the Trusted Trader portal

Available action / User role Account owner Proxy account owner Full-access user Admin-only user
View users in the Trusted Trader portal (portal)
Edit users in the portal (for example, changes to contact info or personal details)
Add users in the portal
View and update the company profile
View and update the application profile
View and update the security profile
View membership status and system notifications
Submit changes to the portal account
Transfer account ownership

Account owner

The account owner role:

  • is a required user role that only one employee can fill
  • is generally the primary user of the Trusted Trader portal and the main contact
  • should be assigned to an employee with signing authority who is authorized to officially represent the company
  • should not be assigned to a consultant or to a temporary employee
  • is the only one who can submit changes in the portal and transfer account ownership

It is important that the account owner transfer account ownership to another individual before they relinquish the role. Consult Transfer account ownership if you need to appoint a new account owner.

Proxy account owner

The proxy account owner role:

  • should be assigned to someone who can act as a backup to the account owner
  • is usually someone who will help complete the application, such as a consultant
  • can perform the same tasks as the account owner, except for the following:
    • submitting changes to the Trusted Trader portal profile on behalf of the account owner
    • transferring account ownership on behalf of the account owner

Other user roles

The following roles can be assigned to other employees at the account owner's discretion, but it is not required:

  • full-access user
  • admin-only user

What to do if your user reference number expires

Your number will expire if you don't sign in to the portal at least once every 2 years.

To apply for a new one, contact the Technical Commercial Client Unit (TCCU). They will help you regain access to your company's portal account. Your company's account owner will then need to reactivate your portal access.

If the account owner's user reference number expires, all other users will lose access to the company's portal account. If this happens, the account owner must:

  1. Contact the TCCU to get a new number
  2. Reactivate all the other users linked to the company portal account

For this reason, we strongly advise that the account owner set a reminder to sign in to the portal once per year.

Step 3:
Register your company

The account owner must sign in to the Trusted Trader portal (using their GCKey or Sign-In Partner credential) to begin the company's registration process. You will then be asked to register for multi-factor authentication (MFA).

Multi-factor authentication

After signing in, follow the prompts to register for MFA. Read and agree to the MFA terms and conditions and enter the 6-digit code you receive in your email inbox, as instructed.

Note: Each time you sign in, you will receive and enter a new, one-time code and agree to the portal terms and conditions.

Register in the Trusted Trader portal

Next, you will arrive at the Trusted Trader registration and activation page where you will have three options:

  • register in the Trusted Trader portal
  • request a new activation code
  • activate your company

If you are a first-time user in the portal and do not yet have a client number or activation code, select Register in the Trusted Trader portal.

Follow the instructions to verify your company's eligibility for membership and confirm the mailing address.

If you already have a client number and activation code, proceed to step 5.

Step 4:
Expect a client number and activation code to arrive by mail

Once you have verified your company's eligibility and confirmed the mailing address, your client number and activation code will be sent via registered mail. It should arrive within 15 business days. If the letter does not arrive within that timeframe, contact us at

When the letter arrives, sign in to the portal and select Activate your company.

Note: The activation code expires 45 days after issuance. If the activation code you received expires, sign in and select Request a new activation code.

What is an activation code

This is a unique code that is required to activate your company's Trusted Trader portal account.

New applicants will receive an activation code in the mail (along with a client number) within 15 days after registration. Your activation code will expire 45 days after it is issued. If your activation code expires, you may request a new one using the Request new code button.

What is a client number

This is your identifier within the PIP program. New members will receive a client number in the mail (along with an activation code) after registration. If you are already a PIP member and do not know your client number, contact us at

Step 5:
Activate your company's account

Sign in to the Trusted Trader portal and select Activate your company.

Enter the client number and activation code you received in the mail and select Activate company.

An activation message will appear. Accept the terms and conditions of use.

Only the account owner can:

  • activate the company account
  • accept the terms and conditions of use for the portal

The new account will not be authorized until the PIP terms and conditions of use have been accepted. Account information can only be modified once the account is authorized.

When you have successfully activated your company and accessed the Trusted Trader portal account, you will see the PIP dashboard. For help with the dashboard, refer to the help file within the portal or visit Contact us.

For all subsequent sign-ins:

  1. Use your username and password at the credential sign-in page
  2. Validate using multi-factor authentication before arriving at the PIP dashboard

Once your company's account is activated, continue the application process by completing the company, application, and security profiles.

Step 6:
Transfer account ownership (if required)

Only the current account owner can transfer account ownership to another user. If you are the account owner, make sure to do this before stepping down as the account owner, such as when leaving the company or changing departments.

To transfer account ownership, follow these instructions:

  1. In the Company profile field, select Add and manage users or More in the upper right-hand corner to display a drop-down menu
  2. Select Reassign account owner
  3. Select a new account owner by selecting an existing Trusted Trader portal user:
    1. if the new account owner is an existing portal user, assign them to the account owner role by providing their last name, user reference number and email address
    2. if the new account owner is not an existing portal user, have them create a Trusted Trader portal account, then follow the steps to transfer account ownership
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