Mandatory Changes to the Canadian Import Process Effective May 25, 2021


What is CARM & what impact will this have on your Canadian import business?

CARM stands for the CBSA’s Assessment and Revenue Management program. Essentially, the Canadian Border Service Agency (CBSA) is overhauling how it receives import information, and how it presents that information to Canadian importers. It will also change how import duties and taxes are collected.

CARM is being implemented in two phases. Phase 1 comes into effect on May 25, 2021 and Phase 2 is being implemented in Spring 2022. Phase 1 will require small changes from importers; however, phase 2 will be a major change and importers must be ready for its implementation.

Why is it being implemented?

According to the CBSA, CARM is being implemented for the following reasons:

  1. To simplify the overall importing process
  2. To provide a modern interface for importing into Canada
  3. To give importers self-service access to their information
  4. To reduce the cost of importing into Canada
  5. To improve consistency of compliance with trade rules

While CARM may seem like a lot of work for not a lot of benefit we do feel that it is an overdue project. The CBSA has been working with 30-year-old technology. It’s important they modernize their systems to keep up to date with changing technologies so Canada can adopt and adapt to new international trade requirements and technologies.

How will CARM affect customs compliance?

The CBSA is modernizing the tools and technology that allow them to process commercial import data. This means they will have better methods and tactics in place to monitor the accuracy and compliance of importer data.

When the CBSA states they want to implement CARM, to improve consistency of compliance with trade rules,we fully anticipate that they will be cracking down on customs compliance transgressions that importers have been able to get away with in the past.

What are the major changes in Phase 1 of CARM?

Phase 1 goes into place on May 25, 2021 and will give importers the opportunity to register and sign into their own CARM Client Portal. On this portal importers will be able to:

  • Make electronic payments
  • View their statement of account
  • Assign internal and external designates on the portal
  • Request advanced customs rulings

What are the major changes in Phase 2 of CARM?

Phase 2 is much more comprehensive and is scheduled for release in May 2022. At this time the CARM Client Portal will be expanded to include:

  • The ability to make correction and amendments to entries online
  • The ability to receive daily notices
  • Submit Commercial Account Declarations

In addition to the increased functionality of the CARM Client Portal, the following changes are scheduled to come into effect:

  • Importers will have to get their own import security bond
  • Customs brokers will have to be assigned as a delegate on the client’s CARM Client Portal to process customs entries for the client

What should I do as a Canadian Importer?

As a Canadian importer it is highly recommended that you take stock of the upcoming changes to CARM and educate yourself with resources that JORI has available to you:

  • Live Webinars – JORI is offering a series of webinars that are focused on CARM in the next few weeks so check out our JORI Events page for more information.
  • JORI University – This platform features the topics from our webinars through accessible video learning.
  • Contact Us – You can reach out to your JORI Representative for more information on how CARM will directly impact your specific business.

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