What is CARM?: Regulations & Compliance 

The CBSA’s new CARM (CBSA Assessment and Revenue Management) project is changing how imports are handled across Canadian borders, making it crucial for businesses to stay ahead.

This initiative, which goes into effect in May, 2024, introduces a mandatory Canadian Customs Import Bond for both resident and non-resident commercial importers, ensuring duties and taxes are efficiently managed through a secure online system.


The CBSA CARM, or Canada Border Services Agency’s CARM (CBSA Assessment and Revenue Management) project, is an initiative to transform how duties and taxes are collected on goods imported into Canada. This multi-phase project introduces a new online portal, the CARM Client Portal (CCP), which allows importers to manage their accounts, make payments, apply for permits and licenses, and comply with regulations more efficiently.

The implementation of CARM is significant for its contributions to increasing efficiency and transparency in the import process. It digitizes and automates customs procedures, reducing the administrative burden on importers and speeding up customs clearances. The system enhances compliance with customs regulations by providing tools for real-time feedback on potential issues, helping businesses avoid penalties and delays.

Overall, CARM is crucial for maintaining Canada’s competitive edge in global trade by ensuring a more streamlined, transparent, and efficient customs process. This is particularly beneficial for small and medium-sized enterprises, leveling the playing field by providing access to sophisticated tools that were previously available only to larger companies.

CARM Compliance

Being CARM-compliant is essential for businesses importing goods into Canada, as it ensures streamlined operations and adherence to updated customs regulations. Compliance with the CBSA’s CARM system not only facilitates faster clearance of goods at the border but also minimizes the risk of penalties and delays associated with non-compliance. As the CARM project progresses, upcoming updates are expected to introduce more sophisticated features in the CARM Client Portal, including advanced tools for payment processing and dispute resolution. These enhancements will further improve the efficiency of the customs process, making it crucial for businesses to stay informed and compliant with the evolving rules and regulations to capitalize on these improvements and maintain smooth import operations.

CARM Implementation Timeline

Starting May 13, 2024, the CARM system will be the official system of record for all importers to Canada, as the CBSA introduces CARM Release 2. We urge all importers to complete their registration promptly to ensure uninterrupted access and avoid any inconvenience during the CARM blackout period (April 26, 2024, to May 13, 2024). During the blackout, accounting privileges, account access, and new registrations for the CARM client portal will be temporarily suspended. Act now to secure your access and maintain smooth operations.

Every importer must be registered on the CARM portal and have posted their financial security with CBSA. The financial security should be in the form of a bond, which Clearit can facilitate obtaining. Note that there is a grace period of 180 days from May 13th, 2024 to put the bond in place. Failing to register on the CARM portal by May 13, 2024, will result in delays in importing. If you do not have your financial security in place before the expiry of the 180 day grace period you will face delays in importing.

Become CARM compliant: 3 easy steps

Step 1: Register for CARM today

Click below to visit the CARM website and register. 

Click Here

Step 2: Delegate Access to Clearit

For your Customs Broker to continue servicing your import needs, you will need to grant access once they have made the request. Click the link below for detailed instructions on how to delegate access. 

Click Here

Step 3: Obtain a bond

With CARM, Importers will no longer be able to use their customs brokers’ security and will need to have their own in place with CBSA.

Up until May 13th, 2024, paper-based bonds will be the only option available. While they have been around for many years, they are cumbersome to put in place and can take several weeks to activate with CBSA. After May 13th, and during the 180 day grace period, Clearit will be able to obtain and maintain your bond electronically through our API.

The CBSA CARM project significantly modernizes the import process in Canada by introducing the CARM Client Portal, which simplifies the management of duties and taxes for importers. Key takeaways include the importance of CARM compliance in ensuring efficient border clearance and minimizing administrative burdens. Future updates to the system will enhance payment processing and dispute resolution, making compliance increasingly crucial for maintaining smooth operations. Importers should stay updated on these changes to fully benefit from the streamlined processes and support Canada’s competitive position in global trade.