CARM: CBSA to streamline and automate business process

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Interview with Lisa Anawati, CBSA Vice President of CARM

CIFFA: Over the past several months we’ve been hearing a lot about CARM. What does the term mean?

[Lisa] The acronym stands for the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) Assessment and Revenue Management (CARM) project. It’s a multi-year initiative that will modernize how the CBSA assesses commercial imported goods and manages revenue. Once fully implemented, CARM will streamline and automate business processes. It will also offer self-service tools through an on-line portal.

Our objective is to make importing into Canada more efficient for all Trade Chain Partners (TCPs). I am confident that through CARM our Agency will be recognized as a global leader in innovative customs services to the trade community.  

CIFFA: How will CARM make importing more efficient?

[Lisa] The CARM Client Portal will provide CBSA commercial clients with the ability to register and enrol in numerous CBSA programs online; access their account data and statements in real time; and make electronic payments. CARM will also enable electronic rulings and appeal requests. These new features will not impact the process of releasing imports, which will remain the same.

CIFFA: How is this project different than other Government of Canada projects that were either implemented much later than scheduled or were implemented prematurely with many problems?

[Lisa] The CBSA is committed to the success of CARM.

We have taken a close look at past projects and are very cognisant of the lessons learned. We are also committed to applying best practices. For example, since the launch of the project, my team has been actively engaged with stakeholders, both internal and external, to ensure we receive real-time feedback as we develop the solution. This is helping us address any unforeseen issues, and mitigate the risk of delays. With this collaborative, engaged approach I am very confident of delivering the project within scope and within timelines.

CIFFA: CARM will impact all TCPs, including importers, customs brokers, freight forwarders and carriers. How is the CBSA communicating the changes leading up to the implementation of CARM? 

[Lisa]  We have a comprehensive stakeholder engagement strategy in place for the overall project, as well as specifically for each Release. We will ensure that all impacted stakeholders are aware and prepared for the changes.

The project team is continuing to hold engagement activities – like webinars and open mic sessions – to inform TCPs of what they will need to do to onboard to CARM. For example, they will need to establish user accounts and manage the appropriate delegation of authority via the CARM Client Portal. This will allow their delegated employees or third parties to view, edit or submit information on their behalf.

We are also leveraging the CBSA website, Customs Notices, social media, and trade publications like this one. Last but not least, we are continuing to provide regular updates on CARM at trade association meetings.

I encourage members of the trade community to seek out information on CARM – check our website [] regularly, follow us on LinkedIn [], attend webinars, especially the upcoming tailored webinars – their schedule will be posted on our website.  

Associations such as CIFFA are a great source of information. Stay connected and participate in events that include CARM.  You can also send questions and share any concerns by emailing us directly.  Your active participation will ensure a seamless transition to CARM and help you take advantage of its many modern features.  

CIFFA: Thank you for your leadership on this transformative project. 

[Lisa] Thanks for giving me the opportunity to talk about CARM.