Ongoing Changes to Canada’s Importing Process


By Sheila E. Thompson of Rosenberg & Parker of Canada, Inc.

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has established The Canada Border Services Agency Assessment and Revenue Management (CARM) project as a multi-year initiative to transform the collection of duties and taxes for goods imported into Canada. The goal is to modernize and streamline the process of importing commercial goods. The CARM project will affect all importers into Canada.

CARM Release 1 has already occurred with the launch of the online Client Portal in 2021. If they have not already done so, importers are encouraged to onboard with the portal prior to the CARM Release 2 date so that they will be able to: 

  • view transactions posted to their accounts;
  • make payments by credit card, online banking or set up pre-authorized debit;
  • request and track the progress of rulings electronically; and
  • classify goods and estimate duties and taxes

Users are able to delegate portal access to employees and third parties such as customs brokers and/or trade consultants, enabling them to seamlessly continue their work and provide their services.

CBSA continues to hold regular Onboarding Webinars. Information on how to sign up with the CARM Client Portal can be found at:

CARM Release 2

CARM Release 2 was scheduled for release on May 13, 2024; however, the implementation date has been delayed until October 2024. CARM Release 2 will introduce:

·         changes to the Release Prior to Payment (RPP) program;

·         electronic commercial accounting declarations that importers can correct and adjust;

·         harmonized billing cycles;

·         new offsetting options;

·         electronic management of appeals and compliance actions;

·         the ability to register for a Business Number (BN9); and

·         enrollment in various CBSA commercial programs

Release Prior to Payment (RPP) Program

Under the current rules, importers can rely on their Customs Brokers’ Bonds to secure release of their goods from CBSA prior to final accounting and payment of duties and taxes. When CARM Release 2 occurs, all importers will have to post their own security with CBSA in order to have the same benefit of early release of goods. Importers will no longer be able to rely on the security posted by their Customs Brokers.

The options for filing security with CBSA after CARM Release 2 are:

·     Option 1: a financial security instrument equal to or great than 50% of the importer’s highest monthly accounts receivable (inclusive of duties and taxes) within the last 12 months of historic payments to the CBSA at the time of enrollment; or

·       Option 2: cash deposit for 100% of their highest monthly accounts receivable (inclusive of GST)

A surety bond is an acceptable form of financial security. After Release 2, only electronic bonds will be accepted with both the Importer and the Surety verifying the information held by CBSA in the CARM Client Portal. CBSA has advised that paper bonds filed prior to CARM Release 2 will be converted by CBSA into electronic bonds.

A minimum bond amount of $5,000 and a maximum of $10 million is required per RM importer account.

CBSA still accepts paper bonds and has not announced a cutoff date prior to Release 2. When Release 2 was scheduled for May 13, 2024, CBSA requested that paper bonds not be filed after April 1, 2024. We expect to see a similar cutoff date for late summer or early fall.

What steps should importers be taking prior to CARM 2 release?

·        Sign up with the CARM Client Portal;

·       Obtain your Canadian business number (called a BN9) which is secured through Canada Revenue Agency. Find information about getting a BN9 at:; and

·        Once a company has secured their BN9 number, they need to register with CBSA to secure an RM importer program number. For details, please refer to:

What should importers be doing about security for the CBSA prior to CARM 2 Release?

·         Assess the amount of security that will need to be filed after CARM Release 2;

·         Work with your surety broker and surety to ensure that approvals are in place to have the bond security issued;

·         Decide when to post the security, either a paper bond prior to October 2024 or an electronic bond after October 2024.

o   The advantages of filing a paper bond now are:

§  The paper bond will be filed and eventually converted by CBSA to an electronic bond; ad

§  Shipments should not be held at the border due to the lack of security having been filed.

o   The disadvantage of filing a bond now is that:

§  The importer is providing security before there is a requirement to post security.

o   The advantage of waiting until October 2024 to file the bond:

§  The importer is not providing security that is not yet required

o   The disadvantage of waiting until October 2024 is that:

§  There may be delays in issuing bonds in an electronic format because the details are not yet set; and

§  Goods may be held at the border pending filing of appropriate security.

Sheila E. Thompson is the President of NASBP member Rosenberg & Parker of Canada, Inc. With over 35 years of experience as an underwriter and as a broker, she oversees client and surety relations and is responsible for the operations of Rosenberg & Parker of Canada, Inc. She has written bonds for both publicly traded and privately held corporations in the construction, manufacturing, energy savings, technology, environmental, and waste hauling industries. Thompson is a past Chair of the NASBP International Committee. She currently serves on the NASBP Commercial Surety, NASBP Finance Committee, and Surety Bond Quarterly magazine's Board of Advisors. She has been involved in the Canadian Construction Documents Committee’s surety bond negotiations for many years. She can be reached at or 416.218.1280.