CBSA Delays CARM Portal Launch to October 2024

Apr 25, 2024

By Jean-Paul McDonald

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) expressed approval at the Canada Border Services Agency's (CBSA) recent decision to postpone the launch of its new CARM (CBSA Assessment and Revenue Management) portal from May to October 2024. This decision comes as a relief to many small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) involved in trade. 

CARM, once implemented, will be mandatory for all trade chain partners, demanding that all importers register and use this system for their international business transactions. Recent surveys by CFIB revealed that only about 25% of SMEs are currently registered with CARM, highlighting the challenges businesses face with the new system. 

Corinne Pohlmann, CFIB’s Executive Vice-President of Advocacy, emphasized the importance of this delay, noting that the learning curve associated with CARM is steep and the registration process complex.  

This complexity is daunting for smaller agri-businesses, many of which import infrequently and lack the resources to easily adapt to such significant system changes. 

The extension aims to prevent supply chain disruptions and delays at borders by allowing more time for SMEs to become familiar with and navigate the new system.  

CFIB advocates for ongoing support beyond the initial 180-day grace period proposed by the CBSA, stressing the need for comprehensive educational resources and more straightforward communication, particularly aimed at small businesses. 

Moreover, the CFIB has outlined several recommendations to improve the transition to CARM.  

These include enhancing CBSA communications, ensuring all policy changes targeting small businesses come with clear, actionable information, and providing alternative options for those who trade infrequently, such as utilizing brokers for their importing needs. 

To further assist businesses in understanding and preparing for the new system, CFIB plans to host educational webinars in both English and French, scheduled for late April 2024. These sessions aim to guide business owners through the registration process and help clarify any confusion regarding CARM. 

The delayed implementation of the CARM portal reflects an understanding of the challenges faced by smaller businesses and provides them with a much-needed opportunity to align their operations with the new requirements without undue pressure. 

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