Prepare for CARM

If you are a Canadian importer or NRI (Non-Resident Importer) you will want to get up to speed on CARM, which will be fully implemented in May, 2024.

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) Assessment and Revenue Management (CARM) project is a multi-year digital initiative that will change how CBSA collects duties and taxes for goods imported into Canada. Through CARM, the CBSA will modernize and streamline the process of importing commercial goods.

CARM is relevant to US exporters because many of them act as Non-Resident Importers (NRIs) in Canada. A Non-Resident Importer (NRI) is a business located outside of Canada that ships goods to customers in Canada and assumes responsibility for customs clearance and other import-related requirements.

Before May 2024, importers and other trade chain partners need to register and adapt their systems and business practices. At first glance the process appears daunting. However, CBSA has provided plenty of resources, including webinars and a detailed user guide:

Most importers and NRIs will engage their Canadian customs broker for help with CARM. While this is a good idea, CBSA makes it very clear that:

  • Importers need to register their businesses and delegate a business account manager in CARM as soon as possible. 
  • Customs brokers need to get their clients to register and may need new software. 
  • If you are a trade consultant, find out what you need to do to be able to advise clients.

The CARM on-boarding steps are:

  1. Obtain Business Number. Current importers and NRIs will already have a BN.
  2. Create CARM account portal.
  3. Link user account with business account.
  4. Grant access to employees or representatives.
  5. Conduct business with CBSA.

Here are a few pro tips from a recent CBSA webinar:

  • During initial set up select a Sign-In Partner or create a GC key. The Sign-In Partner option allows users to log in through the web portal of their financial service provider. Sign-In Partners are financial institutions and banks that have partnered with Secure Key Technologies to enable their customers to use their online credentials to log in to other secure sites. A GC Key is a unique credential that protects your communications with online Government programs and services.
  • Users have the option set up multi-factor authorization, a personal profile, and preferences.
  • Register a BAM (Business Account Manager) in the CARM portal. CBSA recommends at least 2 BAMs to ensure account access in the event of staff changes.
  • Request a Statement of Account from customs brokers to answer any questions about transactions during on-boarding process. The CARM portal will bring all info together.
  • Decide delegation of authority to employees, customs brokers, consultants, etc.

This article is a brief overview of CARM and will, hopefully, help importers and NRIs start the process with time to spare before May, 2024. I have always found the CBSA website to be user friendly and strongly recommend consulting it for research.