Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) is changing several processes relating to the import of goods that will directly affect all importers of commercial goods in Canada, including universities.

The CBSA Assessment and Revenue Management (CARM) project is a multi-year initiative to transform the collection of duty and tax for imported goods. More information can be found at https://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/prog/carm-gcra/menu-eng.html. This project is scheduled to be phased in over the next 12 to 14-month period.

CARM Release 1: May 25, 2021 – Release 1 phase is registration in the CARM Client Portal for all importers, including Universities, and customs brokers.  This is a self-service tool to facilitate accounting and revenue management processes with the CBSA. CARM information videos are available here. Users will be able to:

  • View transactions posted to their accounts
  • Make payments by credit card or set up pre-authorized debit
  • Delegate portal access to employees and third parties (such as customs brokers and/or trade consultants) to manage commercial import activities
  • Request and track the progress of rulings electronically
  • Classify goods and estimate duties and taxes.

CARM Release 2: Spring 2022Release 2 phase will be available to all trade chain partners.  Users will be able to:

  • Acquire a Business Number (BNS) and program account (RM account and/or Program ID)
  • Submit, correct and adjust a Commercial and Accounting Declaration (CAD), which will replace the current customs coding form (B3) and request for adjustment form (B2), also available via Electronic Data Interchange
  • Post and monitor security to participate in the Release Prior to Payment (RPP) program as an importer.

What does this mean for Canadian universities?

Typical Current Process

Anticipated Process under CARM

  • Use customs broker to release, file and account for all imports
  • Use customs broker to release, file and account for all imports
  • Broker posts security (bond) to cover all duties, taxes and penalties for University shipments so goods can be released prior to payment
  • University posts security (bond) to cover all duties, taxes and penalties for University shipments so goods can be released prior to payment
  • University authorizes the final Customs accounting prior to submission
  • University authorizes the final Customs accounting prior to submission
  • Broker accesses University Statement of Account through CBSA Client Portal and matches to the entries on file
  • University accesses their Statement of Account through CBSA Client Portal and matches entries on file
  • Broker pays CBSA monthly Statement of Account through CBSA Client Portal
  • University pays CBSA monthly Statement of Account through CBSA Client Portal
  • Broker provides accounting documents and import entry data
  • Broker provides accounting documents and import entry data
  • Broker invoices university for authorized transactions – duty, taxes, brokerage and other ancillary fees
  • Broker invoices university for brokerage and other ancillary fees only
  • University reviews the import documents/data and pays broker’s invoices
  • University reviews the import documents/data and pays broker’s invoices
  • University requests adjustments or corrections (amends or refunds) to entries, as required
  • University requests adjustments or corrections (amends or refunds) to entries, as required
  • University distributes the import costs internally
  • University distributes the import costs internally
NOTE: It is expected that this process will change depending on the final program requirements and functionality of the portal. Failure to meet these requirements will likely result in clearance delays, loss and possible penalties for the university.

Security Bond

Posting security is a mandatory CBSA requirement that allows for the release of shipments prior to payment (RPP) of duties and taxes. This is usually posted in the form of a bond through an approved surety company.

Under CARM, all commercial importers (Universities) must post their own security. This will establish direct financial liability for debt to CBSA, on the importer. Mandatory security is part of CARM Release 2 which is scheduled for May 2022, and once this is in place Universities will no longer be able to use the Broker’s security to obtain the release of shipments.

Universities will be responsible for managing the amount of RPP security (bond) posted.

CBSA has provided information regarding RPP financial security (bond) calculation:

Payment

Payment will be the direct responsibility of the University using edi or eft functionality available through the CBSA Client Portal. It is unclear at this time whether Universities can assign account payment access to their customs broker.

Without security, your University will not be permitted to have shipments released prior to payment as of Release 2 go-live. This will make it necessary to pay all duties and taxes prior to the release of all goods.

It is extremely important to communicate with your Broker about these changes, as soon as possible. They should be able to assist with answering your questions and providing data regarding your RPP security requirements and use of the CBSA Client Portal.

April 2020 – Prepared by Ray Williamson, retired Manager Customs & Logistics, Procurement Services, Western University
May 2021 – Amended by Gwen Toole, CAUBO Procurement Community of Practice Leader with input from Louise Kedves, Manager Customs & Logistics, Procurement Services, Western University