Border Brokers

What does this mean for Canadian importers?

  • All commercial importers including small businesses, sole proprietors and even farmers must register on the CARM portal to import into Canada. If you have a business number (GST number), this means you!
  • Any commercial importer using a customs broker must authorize their broker on the portal or they cannot do business for them.
  • All commercial importers must post surety in order to import.

Learn how CARM affects you:

  • How is it used?

    CARM will provide a more open concept of reporting to the importer but will restrict the accessibility of the customs broker. For an importer to use a customs broker for a transaction, the importer, as the Importer of Record (IOR) will need to grant the customs broker access to their account through the online CARM portal.

    Under CARM, importers will have their own account on the online CARM portal. As stated above, in order to submit a transaction using a customs broker, importers will have to grant customs brokers access to their account. However, multiple different types of entries can be done; CARM will also allow electronic refunds and electronic temporary entries in addition to the basic release of the B3-3. While the 5-day limit remains, there will be flexibility to make corrections to the B3-3 without having to go through the formal process of applying for a B2. CARM is expected to use a different format for transaction numbers.

  • How will payments be made using CARM Program?

    Currently under the CADEX program, importers are given three types of payment structures: a) Importer Direct Security Option; b) GST Direct Payment Option; and c) Interim Payment Option. These options will no longer be available with CARM. It is expected that most importers will have to change from a GST direct client to an Importer direct client. This means that importers will have to pay both duties and taxes to CBSA, instead of just GST; because of this, Importers will need to post a surety bond based on the value of tax paid.

    “All importers will be required to post their own security to participate in the Release prior to payment (RPP) program.  A commercial shipment will not be released prior to payment (of duties & taxes) unless the importer has posted a surety or cash bond.  The CBSA is working on the conditions upon which releases will be impacted due to inadequate security. CBSA recommends that the amount of RPP security an importer (resident or non-resident) posts should be based on their highest historic monthly accounts receivable over a 12- month period, inclusive of duties, taxes (GST), fees, and penalties. It is the importer’s responsibility to manage and maintain the appropriate amount of RPP security relative to their accounts receivable, inclusive of duties, taxes (GST), fees, and penalties. The $10 million cap in place today will remain. An importer will have the flexibility to make interim payment to reduce their RPP security utilization and raise or lower their RPP security to account for seasonality or other fluctuations in their business.”  – CSCB

  • When will CARM come into effect?

    CARM will be fully in effect as of May 2024.

How to get set up with CARM:

  • 1. Register yourself on a GC key.
    1. Log into the portal using:
    • A GC Key – a unique Government of Canada credential.
    • A sign-in partner – a financial institution who has your online credentials.
    1. Register for multifactor authentication.
    2. Create your personal profile.
  • 2. Register your business

    • Signing in to the CARM client portal will require another multifactor authentication, even if you just did this with the GC Key (a separate program).
    • The first time signing in, they will ask to set up your personal profile.
    • You will be asked to enter your business number including the RM account number (typically 0001) and your legal business name and address.
    • You will need to answer two of three potential financial questions about your account to verify you have authority for the account:
      • The total duty and tax from any customs transaction for the past 4 years.
      • The exact amount of a payment (month and dollar amount) to CBSA from the past 4 years.
      • The balance of a statement of account (month and dollar amount) from the past 4 years.


  • 3. Authorize your Customs Broker
    • On your business account, go to Manage Third Party Requests.
    • There will be a list of anyone who has requested access to your account. You will need to accept or reject them.
      • If your broker is not there, they will need to request access.
    • The broker will need to be established as a Business Manager (all your accounts) or a Program Manager (limited to specific RM accounts). We recommend Business Manager with visibility to all accounts.
  • Why sign up now?

    CBSA has advised that if you have activated your CARM portal by May 2024, you will be granted 180 days to obtain a Surety Bond once CARM goes live, avoiding any unnecessary delays in importing.