Employer information - Social Insurance Number (SIN)

Overview

A Social Insurance Number (SIN) is necessary to work in Canada and to access government programs and benefits such as Employment Insurance . SINs beginning with a "9"  are issued to temporary workers who are neither Canadian citizens nor permanent residents. These temporary SINs are valid until the expiry date indicated on the immigration document authorizing them to work in Canada.

As an employer, you play a leading role in protecting your employees' personal information and detecting and preventing SIN fraud. Your employees' SINs are confidential and should only be used for income-related information.

According to the Employment Insurance Regulations, which came into force on April 30, 2013, employees are required to provide their SIN to their employer by presenting their confirmation of SIN letter, their SIN card or other documentation showing their SIN.

Note:

  • Neither the confirmation of SIN letter nor the SIN card is an identity document; they contain no photo and have no security features to guard against fraud
  • The address on the confirmation of SIN letter is the mailing address when the SIN was issued and not necessarily the current address.

Your key responsibilities

Request each new employee's SIN within three (3) days after the day on which their employment begins.

  • Correctly identify employees with the help of pieces of identification before finalizing their employment documents.
  • Ensure that employees have a valid 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 employee to apply for a SIN at a Service Canada office . If the employee's application and identity document(s) are in order, he or she will receive a SIN in one visit.
  • You can confirm the SIN of a current or former employee by contacting Service Canada at 1-800-206-7218 (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 necessary information to verify the identity of your company as well as the employee.

Ensure that all employees who have a SIN beginning with a "9"are authorized to work in Canada and that their immigration document has not expired.

  • Ask to see the employee's existing immigration document authorizing him or her to work in Canada (e.g. work permit, study permit) and verify that it has not expired. If the immigration document has expired, ask the employee to contact Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to obtain a valid document and to provide it to Service Canada to have the new expiry date entered into their SIN record. Take the necessary steps to renew or rehire the employee.
  • For more information about hiring or extending the work of temporary foreign workers, visit IRCC’s Hire foreign workers page or contact the IRCC Call Centre at 1-888-242-2100.
  • For more information about hiring a foreign student, visit IRCC’s Hire international students page.

Before extending employment for your employee

  • You must always verify that the employee is eligible to continue working in Canada. Your employee must apply to IRCC to extend their authorization to stay and work in Canada before the expiry date on their document.
  • If a temporary resident applies for renewal of their work or study permit and their permit expires before a decision is made, paragraph 186(u) and section 189 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations provide them the right to continue working or studying under the same conditions while their application for renewal is being processed, as long as they remain in Canada. This is referred to as "implied status." The temporary foreign worker will have implied status until a decision is rendered by IRCC.
  • As soon as IRCC makes a decision authorizing the employee to continue working in Canada, you must verify the new immigration document and the expiry date. You should also advise the employee to apply with his or her new immigration document to Service Canada for the new expiry date to be entered into the SIN record.

Protect your employees' personal information and SIN.

  • Store all personal information in a secure area or on an encrypted computer system and ensure that only authorized individuals have access.
  • If you become aware that an employee's SIN has been stolen or inappropriately used, take immediately the following steps:
    • assess the damage
    • inform the employee(s) concerned
    • contact Service Canada at 1-800-206-7218 (and select option "3").
    • contact the Office of the Privacy Commissioner, and
    • if any criminal activity occurred, contact the police.
  • More information is available in Annex 4 of the SIN Code of Practice, on the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre site and on the Consumer Measures Committee site.

Inform Service Canada if you suspect that a Social Insurance Number is being used fraudulently.

For more information

For more information on the SIN application process, visit the Social Insurance Number page or contact the SIN program.

Protecting your SIN

Read the information on protecting your SIN and what you should do if you suspect someone is using your SIN.

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