March 14, 2022 / 0 min read - Last updated: February 28, 2023
Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) Assessment and Revenue Management (CARM) has been quite the hot topic in global trade as of late, but there is still a lot of confusion around it. With Canada being the 8th largest ecommerce market in the world, it is important to have a clear understanding of the following to ensure your imports into Canada are not hindered:
CARM is a change to how the CBSA manages commercial goods being imported into Canada, including the collection of duties and taxes. Canada is moving from a manual system to a more automated one through the CARM Client Portal (CCP). With the portal, importers have access to CBSA 24/7. This access will provide visibility and control over the data associated with the import, as well as the processes occurring after the entry. In short, CARM is a system that streamlines the import process by allowing importers to upload and track information about an import rather than everything being done manually at the border.
Before throwing the term “importer” around in this blog, let’s define it. An importer is one who brings in goods from foreign countries and is responsible for the payment of duties and taxes. Canadian resident and non-resident businesses who import commercial goods into Canada as the importer of record are ultimately responsible for the payment. Here are the categories of importers defined by Canada:
Now that you have a basic understanding of what CARM is and who is considered an importer, let’s discuss the why behind CARM.
To remain relevant and competitive in global trade, the CBSA is modernizing the way it assesses imported goods and manages revenue. The CBSA is among the top collectors of revenue for the Canadian government. Duties and taxes generate billions of dollars annually, which is critical to Canada’s government and economy. CARM’s intended goal to simplify Canada’s import process, which has been in the works since 2016, gives importers more incentive to bring in goods, which likewise benefits the CBSA. The intended goals of CARM are as follows:
All of these goals make up the overall purpose of streamlining the import process.
Phase one (May 2021) introduced the CARM Client Portal (CCP). Phase one is still current, as phase two has not yet been rolled out. Though optional, the CCP allows importers and customs brokers to do the following online:
Again, since the use of the CCP in phase one has been optional and somewhat of a trial phase, importers have time to prepare for the complete implementation of CARM.
The release in January 2023 (if not postponed again) will impact the majority of retailers who ship to Canada. In addition to what the CCP offers in phase one, phase two will no longer be optional, and will introduce the following:
All aspects of phase two are intended to speed up the import process and involve the CCP, and importers must do their part to be compliant with CARM.
Starting in the spring of 2023 (the specific date is unknown), you either delegate brokerage responsibility to your carrier, work with CARM and the CCP and give your customs broker access to your account, or work with CARM and the CCP yourself to manage and clear your shipments. It is recommended to have everything in place by fall 2022 to be ready for a possible January 2023 release date. Requirements for resident and non-resident importers are outlined below.
As the importer, you should anticipate either using the CARM portal or the carrier’s website to indicate your desire to let the carrier continue to act on your behalf. Here are some resources for doing this:
Please note that if you decide to use the CARM CCP for your shipments, including payment of duties and taxes, you will not receive an invoice from the carrier for those amounts. This can be a lot of information to take in, but if you are a business shipping goods to Canada with a total value of less than $50,000 CAD monthly, let your carrier continue to handle the clearance process; but be sure to delegate authority to them. If your business ships more than $50,000 worth of goods into Canada monthly, then it is recommended that you get set up with CARM as soon as possible. A firm start date for phase two of CARM is not known at this time. Start preparing by ensuring that your business has a Canadian business number and looking over the CARM website for updates. Happy importing!
A love of bringing words together to create clear, simple messages about complex topics has driven me to pursue a career in professional writing. As the Content Manager at Zonos, I find excitement and purpose in decoding the complex details of cross-border ecommerce.
Cross Border, Duties and Taxes, Global Trade Compliance, Industry,