Your Social Insurance Number is a very valuable piece of personal identification used by the government to identify you accurately for government use.
Do you carry your SIN card in your wallet?‚ Do you know when and to whom you should provide your SIN number without putting yourself at risk of fraud or identity theft?
Your Social insurance number (SIN) is confidential and there are some important guidelines that explain when and where your SIN number should be given out.‚ Protect yourself by learnign a little more on the subject:
The most common uses of your Social Insurance Number (SIN) are for:
- your employer
- your income tax information
- financial institutions from which you earn interest or income (for example, banks, credit unions, trust companies)
- Canada Pension Plan (CPP) or Rƒ ©gie des rentes du Quƒ ©bec (RRQ) benefits
- Employment Insurance (EI) program benefits
- Canada Education Savings Grants (CESG) and Registered Education Savings Plans (RESP)
- Child Tax Benefit
- Canada Student Loans
- Goods and Services Tax (GST) / Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) claims
- Social assistance benefits
- Veterans benefits and programs
- Workers Compensation benefits
- child support payments.
For a complete listing and brief description of the federal legislation and programs which are specifically permitted to use the SIN.
When don’t I have to provide my SIN?
Some private-sector organizations may ask for your SIN. This practice is strongly discouraged, but it is not illegal.
Here are examples of when you don’t have to give your Social Insurance Number or show your card:
- proving your identity (except for specific government programs)
- completing a job application before you get the job
- completing an application to rent a property
- negotiating a lease with a landlord
- completing credit card application
- cashing a cheque
- applying for a video club membership
- completing some banking transactions (mortgage, line of credit, loan)
- completing a medical questionnaire
- renting a car
- subscribing to long-distance or cellular telephone services
- writing a will
- applying to a university or college.
The following information will help you understand the importance of your responsibilities related to the Social Insurance Number (SIN), and the leading role you play in protecting your employees’ personal information and in preventing fraudulent activities.
Employers’ Responsibilities At A Glance
- Ask to see the SIN card of new employees within three days of when they start their employment.
- Verify and record the expiry date of all SIN cards beginning with a “9“.
- Protect your employee’s SIN and personnel records.
- Inform Service Canada if you suspect that a SIN is being used fraudulently.
Remember: your employees’ SINs are confidential and should only be used for income-related information.
YOUR KEY RESPONSIBILITIES
Request and examine each new employee’s Social Insurance Number card within three days of when they start to work.
- You must view an employee’s SIN card and record the name and number exactly as they appear on the card. Every person working in Canada must have a SIN. This number is used to administer government benefits under the Income Tax Act, the Canada Pension Plan Act, and the Employment Insurance Act.
- If a new employee does not have a SIN and is eligible to work in Canada, instruct the individual to apply for a SIN at one of our Service Canada offices – tell them it’s fast, simple and secure! If the employee’s application and identity document(s) are in order, he or she will receive a SIN in one visit and be able to provide you with a written confirmation.
- If you would like to confirm the SIN of a current or former employee, please contact Service Canada’s Social Insurance Registration office at 1-800-206-7218 and select Option “3″. If calling from outside Canada dial 506-548-7961 (long distance charges apply). You will need to provide your business number (issued by Canada Revenue Agency), along with appropriate information to verify the identity of your company as well as the employee.
Ensure that employees’ Social Insurance Numbers beginning with a “9″ have not expired.
- If an employee has a SIN beginning with a “9“, you must verify that the date on the SIN card has not expired. SINs that begin with a “9” are issued to temporary workers who are neither Canadian citizens nor permanent residents. These SINs are only valid until the expiry date that is printed on the front of the card. The expiry date corresponds to the date on the document from Citizenship and Immigration Canada which authorizes a person to work in Canada.
Protect your employees’ personal information, including their SIN, from theft and inappropriate use or disclosure.
- Store all sensitive personal information in a secure area or on an encrypted computer system. Only allow access to it on a need-to-know basis.
- If you become aware that an employee’s SIN has been stolen or is being inappropriately used or disclosed, take the following steps to minimize the negative impact that could result: (1) assess the damage (2) inform the employee(s) concerned (3) if any criminal activity occurred, contact the police (4) contact Service Canada and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner, and (5) contact anyone else affected.
Inform Service Canada if you suspect that a Social Insurance Number is being used fraudulently.
- You play a leading role in detecting and preventing SIN fraud. Two main examples of this type of fraud are illegal employment and income tax evasion.
- If you have any reason to suspect that a SIN is being used fraudulently, report the situation immediately to Service Canada.
Did you know that, in Canada, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act sets out ground rules about how private-sector organizations may collect, use or disclose personal information? For more information, consult the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada at www.privcom.gc.ca
For more information on how to protect the SIN, please see our publication, Your Social Insurance Number: A Shared Responsibility!
How to reach us
CALL‚ 1-800-206-7218. Select Option “3″.
Agents are available Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (your local time), except statutory holidays.
If you are calling from outside Canada, the number is (506)‚ 548-7961 (long distance charges apply).
For more information on how to contact the Government of Canada and access the full range of Government of Canada programs and services.
VISIT the nearest Service Canada Centre http://www.servicecanada.gc.ca/cgi-bin/hr-search.cgi?app=hme&ln=eng
‚ or call 1‚ 800‚ O-Canada‚ (1-800-622-6232)‚ TTY 1-800-926-9105.
You can also write to us at:
Social Insurance Registration Office
P.O. Box 7000
Bathurst, New Brunswick E2A 4T1
The Social Insurance Number (SIN) Program is delivered by Service Canada – the Government of Canada’s service delivery network that brings a range of federal services and benefits together to meet your needs. Service Canada offers easy-to-access, one-stop, personalized services – on the Internet, by telephone, in-person or by mail
Job seekers AND employers should familiarise themselves with the social insurance number code of practice.‚ The code of practice outlines your responsibilities and answers many of the frequently asked questions concerning the S.I.N.
‚ We have included a link for you here: http://www.servicecanada.gc.ca/eng/about/reports/sin/cop/toc.shtml