What is Canada's Pre-Arrival Review System (PARS)?

What is Canada's Pre-Arrival Review System (PARS)?

If your company plans to ship freight to or through Canada, you want to ensure your cargo reaches its destination without unexpected delays or disruptions. Canada’s Pre-Arrival Review System (PARS) facilitates efficient shipping into and through Canada. 

What is it? How does it work for cross-border shipping? Let’s explore the Canada PARS program below to help you understand how it can benefit your company. 

What is Canada’s Pre-Arrival Review System (PARS)?

The Pre-Arrival Review System or PARS is a customs program that allows importers to submit essential information (e.g. electronic manifests) about their cargo to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) for review and processing before their cargo reaches Canada. 

The PARS program was created to prevent delays in processing at the border. Because CBSA will already know whether or not it can release a PARS shipment when it arrives at the border, it speeds up the whole process. 

The CBSA will likely release cargo within minutes if all the necessary information has been submitted in advance. Otherwise, cargo may need to be held for inspection before release, which can extend the shipping process. 

How does PARS work for cross-border shipping?

When shipping goods into or through Canada, PARS involves several steps.

At Pickup 

Upon the Canada trucking company picking up your shipment, the driver will affix a PARS sticker to the necessary documents required for crossing the Canadian border along with your freight. Subsequently, the driver will transmit this information to the customs broker or importer, who will in turn submit it to the CBSA.

Pre-arrival submission

The process starts when an importer or customs broker submits electronic information about the goods they’re shipping to the CBSA. This should include:

  • A clear description of the items
  • The goods’ value
  • The goods’ origin
  • All other relevant information that the CBSA should know (e.g. shipment numbers)

When dealing with Canada freight shipping, companies must submit their PARS request within the right timeframe for the format used. Paper-based PARS requests should be submitted at least two hours before the cargo’s arrival, while electronic requests are required at least one hour before arrival. 

CBSA review

The CBSA reviews the pre-submitted information and determines if the goods comply with Canadian regulations. Any potential issues with the cargo are flagged, and the goods are passed on for a secondary inspection. 

Risk assessment

The CBSA assesses any risks related to shipments that may need closer scrutiny. Cargo that requires a more thorough inspection may contain items that could have a negative impact on health or security or breach other regulations. 


Once the CBSA completes its shipment review, it will decide whether or not it’s safe for release. 

If the shipment is approved for release, the items can freely proceed into Canada upon arrival at the border. If not, further inspections are required for a final decision. 

Border crossing 

PARS stickers attached to the shipment are crucial for this stage of the process. CBSA agents use the barcoded cargo control numbers (CCN) on PARS stickers to access shipment details. They check this against the PARS information for verification. 

If the CBSA decides to release your shipment, your freight will cross the Canadian border and continue its journey to its destination. 

Learn more about PARS from Canada freight shipping companies

The PARS program can be an effective way to make shipping goods into and through Canada more efficient. Your business or organization can avoid potential delays caused by the usual process — reducing the risk of costly disruptions and disappointed buyers. 

However, preparing shipments with the PARS program and submitting all the relevant documentation can be daunting. The necessary information must be submitted correctly to avoid issues. 

A freight shipping company can help manage your Canada cross border shipping and work with the carrier and customs broker to help prepare and submit PARS documentation for your cross-border freight. This lets you focus on your business while a seasoned team handles the PARS process for you. 

Choosing the right freight shipping company will make this (already streamlined) cross-border shipping method even easier. DTS is a shipping logistics company with over 32 years of experience and a proud Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA) member. 
Contact DTS today to learn how we can help you import freight into or through Canada for your cross border shipping needs.

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