The clock is ticking. Register for CARM now.

CARM affects all importers. Registration is mandatory. It’s also complex and time-consuming, so starting now is crucial.

All imports into Canada are affected.

If you import into Canada, you must register for the CARM Client Portal and delegate authority to your customs broker before Release 2 goes into effect in May 2024. Whether you have one shipment or many, you will be impacted.

CARM Release 2 introduces a new financial security model whereby all commercial importers must post their own financial security to benefit from the Release Prior to Payment program. Customs brokers will no longer be allowed to use their bond on behalf of importers. To help importers adjust to this new financial security model, a 180-day transition period will be implemented allowing goods to be released prior to the payment of duties and taxes. To qualify for the transition period, importers must have a valid business number (BN15) before the go-live date of CARM Release 2, currently scheduled for May 13, 2024.

You'll face financial penalties.

Failure to register for the CARM Client Portal means that accounting can't be completed on your released shipments. You may incur a $100 late accounting penalty for each transaction until Portal registration, delegation of authority and retransmission of the commercial accounting declaration (CAD) is complete.

The window is closing.

Despite the obvious risk, most importers have yet to comply. Many will experience business disruption. Don’t be among them.

There's a lot at stake.

Business disruption is just the start. There will be disappointed customers, angry carrier partners, and tarnished reputations.

Take these steps immediately.

Register with CBSA and delegate authority to your broker.

You must register your business on the CARM Client Portal and delegate authority to your customs brokers. Delegating authority allows customs brokers to continue to transact with CBSA on your behalf.

Video: CARM Client Portal - Creating an Account Guide: CARM Client Portal - Onboarding

Provide financial security.

Before CARM, customs brokers could provide financial security on your behalf. Now, all importers must provide their own surety. There are two ways: A bond equal to a minimum of $25,000 or 50% of your highest monthly duties/taxes in the 12 months before CARM Release 2 (whichever is highest). Or a cash deposit equal to 100% of your highest monthly duties/taxes in the 12 months before CARM.

What are my options?

Choose your payment preference.

Once you’ve registered for the CARM Client Portal and secured a bond (or posted your deposit), you’ll need to decide whether you want to pay the Receiver General directly or have your customs broker pay your duties and taxes on your behalf. If you choose to pay the Receiver General directly, you must carefully adhere to the due dates. Failure to remit payment could result in goods being held at the border until payment is received.

CARM: Frequently Asked Questions

What is CARM?

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) is modernizing and streamlining the process of importing commercial goods. Learn more from these three videos and the links below.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if I don’t complete one of the steps by the time CARM is implemented?

Registration must be complete, or the final accounting of your shipments can’t be submitted to CBSA, which will result in the issuance of late accounting penalties per shipment. That means that you must register for the CARM Client Portal and delegate authority to your customs broker(s). CBSA has stressed the importance of registering for the CARM Client Portal well in advance of the May 2024 deadline, to ensure commercial shipments are not disrupted.

CARM also impacts the way importers post financial security with the CBSA.

  • If you have a BN15 or are registered on the CARM Client Portal before Release 2 goes into effect on May 13, you’ll be able to take advantage of a 180-day grace period for the financial security requirement. This means you’ll be able to import without posting your own financial security for 180 days (6 months). However, if you’re not registered on the CARM Portal prior to the release of your goods, you must do so within five business days of your shipment’s release date so that accounting can be submitted to CBSA. Failure to complete your registration and delegate authority to your customs brokers within five business days of your goods being released will result in incurring a $100 late accounting fee for each transaction until Portal registration, delegation of authority, and retransmission of the CAD are complete.

  • If you don’t have a BN15, you won’t benefit from the grace period and will be required to register your business in the Portal, delegate authority, and post financial security before the release of your goods. You won’t be able to use your customs broker’s bond.

Although there’s a grace period planned, CBSA encourages importers to obtain their financial security in advance, to minimize disruptions. The process for obtaining a bond can be lengthy.

Can my customs broker still pay duties and taxes on my behalf?

Yes, but you must authorize your broker to access your CARM Client Portal account. See Delegation of Authority in the CARM Client Portal for instructions.

Where can I get a customs surety bond?

Livingston can help importers secure their bond, at a competitive rate. For details about Livingston’s bond services, contact

You can also contact an approved provider to obtain your financial security (i.e., insurance companies, banks, credit unions, other financial institutions).

What happens if I don’t get a bond or pay a cash deposit by the deadline?

Importers who are registered in the CARM Client Portal before the go-live date for Release 2 (scheduled for May 2024) or have a BN15, will have 180 days to post their financial surety.

Importers who don’t have a BN15 in place prior to the go-live date for Release 2 (scheduled for May 2024) won’t be eligible for the 180-day transition period. This means they’ll have to:
  • obtain a business number,
  • register for the Portal,
  • delegate authority to their customs broker(s) and
  • secure a surety bond or post a cash deposit to obtain release and accounting.

Do I need a customs bond for each broker I work with?

No. You can have a single bond to cover all your duties and taxes (across all brokers) or choose to have multiple bonds. What’s critical is that your total surety (all bonds combined) is equal to 50% of your highest monthly duty/tax outlay in the 12 months preceding CARM Release 2, and a minimum of $25,000.

Where do I get a GCkey to sign up for the CARM Client Portal?

All users of the CARM Client Portal must create their individual Portal user accounts using a GCKey or Sign-on Partner.

If you don’t already have a GCKey - apply now.

Additional information on the GCKey is available in the Government of Canada GCKey - FAQ.

Livingston is offering a service to clients, to complete the CARM Client Portal registration. For details, contact

We only import a few times a year, do we need to register for the CARM Client Portal?

Yes. All importers register in the CARM Portal, regardless of the number of shipments and frequency of imports. If you are not registered, you won’t be able provide full accounting and payment of all duties and taxes to CBSA and will incur late accounting penalties.

Registration can be a complex process requiring confidential business and legal information. Please register immediately, delegate authority to your broker, and begin the process to obtain your financial security. Your ability to import without delays depends on it.

Questions about CARM

For more information on CARM, download Livingston's FAQ or contact us to speak to a representative. We're here to help!

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