CARM, which stands for “CBSA Assessment and Revenue Management,” is an initiative by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to modernize and simplify the process of importing commercial goods into Canada. This transformative project aims to introduce a digital platform that will allow importers to manage their trade transactions with the CBSA more efficiently. Through CARM, businesses will have access to online services, such as tracking the status of shipments, viewing transaction histories, and managing payments, thus streamlining the customs declaration and payment process. The overarching objective is to facilitate easier trade, enhance service delivery, reduce the administrative burden for businesses, and ensure consistent compliance with Canada’s trade regulations.
How does CARM differ from the previous system?
1. Digital Transformation
- Before: Paper-based transactions and manual processes were dominant.
- CARM: Introduces a fully digital platform that facilitates online trade documentation, payments, and other transactions.
2. Real-time Access:
- Before: Importers often had to wait for periodic statements or reports to assess duties, taxes, and other charges.
- CARM: Provides real-time access to transaction data, allowing importers to review the Daily Notice (DN) and the Statement of Account (SOA) instantly.
3. Delegation of Authority:
- Before: The delegation to customs brokers or third-party agents was more cumbersome, often involving paperwork and manual processes.
- CARM: Allows businesses to easily delegate authority to customs brokers or third parties directly via the online portal, streamlining their operations.
4. Payment Management:
- Before: Payment processes were more manual, with fewer options for automatic or digital payments.
- CARM: Offers direct linkages to bank accounts and the ability to enroll in the CBSA’s pre-authorized debit (PAD) system, making payment processes smoother.
5. Enhanced Security:
- Before: Security protocols were less integrated into the platform.
- CARM: Integrates higher levels of security, including user permissions, roles, and secure access management.
6. Integrated Client Portal:
- Before: Fewer self-service options existed for importers.
- CARM: The CARM Client Portal serves as a one-stop hub for importers to manage all trade transactions, delegate authority, set up payment options, and more.
7. Improved Transparency:
- Before: It was sometimes challenging to get a full picture of transaction histories, payments, and other relevant details.
- CARM: Ensures full transparency by providing businesses with detailed transaction histories, helping them track their importing activities more effectively.
8. Improved Transparency:
- Before: While compliance tools existed, they were less integrated.
- CARM: Offers integrated tools and features that help businesses ensure consistent compliance with Canadian trade regulations.
9. Simplified Processes:
- Before: Many processes, from delegating authority to tracking shipments, were more fragmented and less user-friendly.
- CARM: Streamlines these processes, making them more intuitive and reducing the administrative burden on businesses.
In essence, CARM is CBSA’s answer to modernizing and simplifying the importation process, aiming to create a more efficient, transparent, and user-friendly system for Canadian businesses and their trade partners.
Setting up CARM Client Portal (CCP) Account
1. Access the CCP portal at the link:
2. Create a GCKey or Sign-In Partner Account:
- Before accessing the CARM Client Portal, you’ll need a GCKey or a Sign-In Partner Account. Visit the official CARM portal and select either the GCKey or Sign-In Partner option to create your account.
3. Access the CARM Client Portal:
- Once you have a GCKey or Sign-In Partner Account, you can log in to the CARM Client Portal. This portal will be the main platform for managing all your importing activities and interactions with CBSA.
4. Set Up Your Business Profile:
- Enter your Business Number (BN).
- Provide detailed business information, including contacts, addresses, and relevant financial details.
- Add other users if necessary and set their roles/permissions (e.g., customs brokers, accountants).
- At this stage, reach out to your Customs Broker to help answer security questions on CPP
5. Register for a Program Account:
- If you’re importing goods into Canada, you’ll need a program account. For importers, this would typically be an RM account.
6. Delegate Authority:
- If you employ customs brokers or other third-party agents to handle your imports, you’ll need to delegate authority to them through the portal so they can act on your behalf.
7. Review and Accept Terms and Conditions:
- Ensure you understand and agree to the terms and conditions of using the CARM system and its portal.
8. Transition Customs Brokers:
- Once your business account is set up on CCP, you need to ask your Customs Broker to send you an Access Request. Please click on “Manage Pending Third Party Requests” on CCP on the right-hand side of your screen and accept your booker’s request in “Received requests”.
9. Monitor Transactions and Statements:
- Regularly check your Daily Notice (DN) and Statement of Account (SOA) to monitor transactions and ensure payments are made promptly.
10. Stay Updated with Training & Resources:
- CBSA often provides resources, training, and updates about the CARM system. Stay informed to ensure you’re using the system correctly and efficiently.
11. Ensure Compliance:
- Always ensure that your imports comply with Canadian trade regulations. CARM provides tools to help you stay compliant, but it’s essential to regularly review and understand the rules.
12. Seek Support When Needed:
- If you encounter challenges or uncertainties, use the available resources, attend training sessions, or reach out to the CBSA or professionals familiar with CARM for guidance.
Who needs CARM?
- Any business or individual importing goods into Canada for commercial purposes will need to interact with the CARM system. This includes both large corporations and small businesses.
2. Customs Brokers:
- Professionals who assist importers with the customs clearance process need to use CARM. The system allows these brokers to act on behalf of importers, provided they’ve been granted the necessary permissions.
3. Trade Consultants:
- Consultants who advise businesses on importation and trade-related matters will benefit from understanding CARM to offer accurate and up-to-date guidance.
4. Surety Companies:
- These companies provide bonds that guarantee payment of duties and taxes to the CBSA. Under CARM, there are changes to the bonding process, and surety companies need to be familiar with these adjustments.
5. Carriers and Freight Forwarders:
- While they may not directly interact with CARM in the same way as importers or brokers, understanding the system can help streamline their operations, especially in terms of document submission and ensuring smooth transportation of goods.
6. Other Third-party Agents:
- Any other agents or intermediaries involved in the importation process will benefit from understanding CARM, even if they don’t interact with it directly.
It’s important to note that even if an entity doesn’t directly use CARM, having a working knowledge of the system is beneficial. The modernization of the importation process affects various aspects of trade, and being informed helps ensure compliance and efficient operations.
Is CARM mandatory for importers?
Importers are required to use the CARM Client Portal to manage their trade transactions with CBSA.
Importers will have access to online services that allow them to track shipments, view transaction histories, manage payments, and more.
Importers are required to register and set up their accounts on the CARM Client Portal.
The system also brings changes to the way importers secure their potential debts with CBSA, such as duties and taxes. You will have the option of setting your monthly statement of account directly, to continue to ask your Customs Broker to pay on your behalf.
With the implementation of Release 2 of CARM, importees will no longer be able to import shipments under their broker’s Security Bond. The importers will need to post their security bond to continue enjoying Release Prior to Payment (RPP) privileges.
While CARM brings several changes and enhancements to the importation process, it’s crucial for importers to understand and adopt the new system. Non-compliance could lead to disruptions in importing activities, potential penalties, or other complications.