Major changes are coming to the Canadian importation system in the next couple of years. The Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) is in the process of implementing a program called CARM, the CBSA Assessment, and Revenue Management program. This is a multi-year transformation intended to create a client-focused system of handling importations that facilitates trade, but without compromising border security or economic concerns.
So, in this article, we wanted to briefly cover what CARM is and some of the changes to expect between (roughly) 2020 and 2022.
How CARM Will Change Canadian Imports for The Better
What is CARM? Broadly speaking, the goal of CARM is a digital transformation. It will modernize CBSA processes to automate and digitize processes that were previously done manually and/or on paper. This will include processes for goods assessment, tax and duty collection, management, and compiling and reporting on trade and revenue across the country.
The goal, therefore, is to streamline both sides of the process. Once the process is complete, it should be easier for importers to navigate the bureaucracy and paperwork, and the CBSA will be able to provide more robust services while – hopefully – cutting ongoing costs in the process.
One of the best aspects of this service, once implemented, will be the ability of importers to “self-serve” many of the necessary functions through a single web portal.
The current plan is to roll this out in three phases:
Release 0: In the summer of 2020, the CBSA will conduct a behind-the-scenes internal migration of their own computer and data systems to a more robust digital architecture. This should have no impact on importers and be effectively invisible to the public.
Release 1: Projected to come in early 2021, Release 1 will see the rollout of new digital tools and services allowing importers, brokers, and their proxies to begin utilizing the planned CARM Client Portal. This will require importers to register on the system to make use of these features.
Release 2: Currently scheduled for Summer 2021, the Client Portal will receive numerous new electronic features that will replace previous customs coding and adjustment forms. It should also include streamlined billing and payment systems, as well as features to allow for easily making amendments to previous submissions.