Getting your Social Insurance Number (SIN) in Canada

The Social Insurance Number, better known as SIN, is an essential Canadian id number composed of 9 digits. The SIN can be applied for starting at the age of 12 years old, and it is mandatory for all Canadian citizens or for anyone wishing to work or study in Canada, no matter whether they are temporary or permanent residents.

Parents of a newborn can ask for the SIN of their child, but also parents or legal tutors can apply for the SIN of an older child if they are under the age of majority in their province. Each SIN is assigned to one person only and cannot legally be used by another person.

In this article, we will explain what the procedure is to get your Canadian Social Insurance Number, why it is important, and where you can find it.

HOW TO GET THE SOCIAL INSURANCE NUMBER (SIN)

To apply for your SIN, you must visit a Service Canada Centre in person. You can find out which one is closest to you by visiting the Service Canada website and entering your postal code or address.

There are three possible methods to apply for it:

1. Submit an online application:

If you are applying online, you must provide the following documents:

  • A digital copy of a valid original primary identity document. You must provide both sides of the document if there is identity information on each side.
  • A digital copy of a valid original secondary document. It could be your passport or an ID Card.
  • A digital copy of a proof of address of less than 3 months.
  • A digital copy of a valid original supporting document. This is only in the case that your name on your primary identity document is different from the name on your secondary document, or the name on the online SIN application form.

2. Apply by mail:

If you choose to apply by postal service, you must provide the following documents:

  • A valid original primary identity document.
  • A completed and signed SIN application form. If you are unable to print the application form, you can order it by phone at 1-866-274-6627 (toll free).

3. Apply in person:

Finally, if you are applying in person, you must provide the following documents:

  • A valid original primary identity document. Generally, this could be a birth certificate or a certificate of Canadian Citizenship.
  • A valid original secondary document: only applicable if you have reached the age of majority in your province or territory of residence.

Please follow this link if you wish to obtain more information on what documents can be accepted to cover the previous requirements.

WHAT IS A SIN FOR?

The SIN is a very important number in the daily life of a Canadian citizen or resident. It is required for procedures such as:

  • signing an employment contract
  • receiving workers’ compensation benefits
  • applying for social assistance benefits
  • opening a bank account
  • presenting your declaration to the Canadian tax authorities
  • receiving your unemployment compensation
  • claiming your pension payment

But be careful, not all organizations can ask you for your SIN number, for example, when renting a house or buying a car, you do not need to provide your SIN number.

WHAT HAPPENS IF I LOSE MY SIN?

If your SIN card has been lost or stolen, it is essential to report it to the police as soon as possible. Your SIN card contains personal and confidential data that could lead thieves to use your name to sign on for credits or take advantage of certain government supports… In the most serious cases, this number could be used to usurp your identity and get a job in your name.

If you don’t remember your SIN number, you should be able to find it on your Income Tax return forms and in your employment contract.

Your SIN number is personal and can only be changed by Service Canada in situations where fraudulent use of the SIN has been proven. So, to avoid having your SIN card stolen, make sure to keep it in a safe place and do not carry it around with you unless needed.

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