What is a SIN?

A SIN is a 9 digit number that you need to work in Canada and to access many government services and benefits.

What is a SIN?

The social insurance number (SIN) was created in order to administer the Canadian Pension Plan and other government programs, as well as for tax reporting.

Service Canada issues SIN to Canadian citizens, permanent and temporary residents, and some refugee claimants.

All workers are legally obligated to provide their SIN to their employers when they start working for them.

Find out how to get a SIN.

When do I need to share my SIN?

Your SIN uniquely identifies you to the government, so it's important to guard your number carefully. 

You have to share your SIN when you:

  • Get a job and your employer asks you for you SIN to pay you.
  • Apply for government services (e.g., OSAP, Ontario Works, Child Tax Benefits, etc.).
  • Complete your tax forms for work and file your taxes every year.
  • Open a bank account that can accrue interest.

When can I refuse to share my SIN?

There are many situations where you are not required to share your SIN, even if you're asked. 

You have every right to refuse to share your SIN when you:

  • Identify yourself. You only need to use your SIN for identification for government programs
  • Apply for a job. You don't have to provide employers with your SIN until you're hired
  • Apply to rent a home or sign a lease.
  • Apply for a credit card.
  • Make banking transactions. You do not need to provide your SIN to open a bank account if the account doesn't earn interest.
  • Fill out medical paperwork.
  • Rent a car.
  • Apply for a college or university, although you will need a SIN to apply for government sponsored grants and loans.

How do I apply for a SIN?

There is no fee to apply for a SIN.

If you're over 12-years-old, and a Canadian citizen, or permanent or temporary resident, you can apply for your own SIN. Parents and guardians can apply for SIN on behalf of their children.

You can apply online or by mail.

Make sure you have everything you need to apply, including digital copies of two IDs and proof of address. 

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