Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) Standards

Electronic commerce is a vital link in the value chain for the Canadian industry. Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) is based on the use of message standards, ensuring that all participants are using a common language. A message standard consists of uniform formats for business documents, which have been adopted for electronic transmission. It also includes security and control elements, as well as other rules and conventions relating to the use of transaction sets/documents that all users agree to follow.

EDI enables the computer-to-computer exchange of business documents between companies using a standard format. Even in a world of newer technologies, it continues as a very important technology for e-commerce. While initially focused on larger businesses, EDI now provides benefits and cost-efficient implementation options for companies of all sizes. This electronic communication means you are efficiently and effectively providing your trading partners with accurate and complete business requirements. The need for accurate and timely data communication continues to be a requirement  as trading partners ask more questions about the products they purchase and use.

X12 EDI Standards provide specific areas of the relevant data to be transmitted. The goal of X12 standards is to provide globally unique product identification and data capture of trade items, assets, logistic units, parties, locations, etc.

GS1 Canada in collaboration with GS1 US continue to develop and maintain implementation guidelines for Voluntary Interindustry Commerce Solutions (VICS)  EDI Standards, with GS1 Canada providing tools and support to subscribers using EDI for data synchronization and supply chain communication. The Canadian Implementation Guidelines provide end-to-end support - from establishing the product information and purchase order, to the payment of those orders and providing all the details that your trading partners need.

Benefits of EDI Standards

The reasons for implementing EDI standards is because suppliers and other trading partner facilities are increasingly more tactical rather than the strategic, with speed and accuracy acting as the driving force behind this decision. Additional benefits include:  

  • Improved data accuracy
  • Effective customer service
  • Reduced manual data entry
  • Reduced postage and handling cost
  • Reduced cost of printing forms
  • Reduced mail time
  • Reduced labour processing cost
  • Reduced order cycle time
  • Reduced lead times
  • Reduced filing of paperwork
  • Reduced inventory carrying cost
  • Improve trading partner compliance

Another compelling reason to implement EDI is to comply with major trading partners’ requests to establish electronic communication links in order to realize the benefits listed above.

EDI supports many business processes covering ordering, shipping & receiving, warehousing, and invoicing to name a few.

EDI User Guidance

If you are a new EDI user click here for a high level outline of what you and your organization needs to be aware of in order to implement Electronic Data Interchange (EDI).

Canadian EDI Guidelines

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) is one of the key enablers to allow the efficient communication of business transactions between trading partners, in an electronic format. To facilitate the implementation of this key enabler, the development of versioned implementation guides serves the needs of the Canadian grocery, foodservice, general merchandise, hardlines, retail pharmacy and healthcare industries.

These comprehensive guides have been prepared by Canadian Industry for Canadian Industry Users as a subset of the ANSI governed X12 Standards and GS1 US VICS XRG working groups.  These subsets are versioned EDI Implementation Guidelines aligned to the publication cycle of X12 Standards Inc. commencing with version 004010.

The GS1 Canada EDI webpages host the various versions. Each subset provides a publication of the transaction sets as identified by the Canadian EDI industry users – data providers and data recipients.


If you are interested in obtaining the Canadian EDI Implementation Guidelines, please contact GS1 Canada - Global Standards at 416-510-8039 or email us at global.standards@gs1ca.org.

If you are a current subscriber click here to access the Canadian EDI Implementation Guidelines, noting you will need to login to your myGS1 account in order to gain access.






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