Every person who wants to be able to work in Canada or benefit from certain government services needs a Social Insurance Number (SIN). This number consists of 9 digits.
Who can Obtain a Social Insurance Number?
If you are a Canadian citizen or a Permanent Resident of Canada then you are entitled to receive a SIN. This number – under certain circumstances – could also be issued for those who are in Canada temporarily. If you do not have a SIN then you cannot be legally hired by employers. All employers ask for your Social Insurance Number at the time of employment. If your visa does not qualify you for a SIN then you are not able to work in Canada (i.e. any type of work such as full-time, part-time, contract, temporary, and casual).
Children who are 12 years or older may directly apply for SIN. Parents or guardians of children under 12 may apply for SIN on their behalf. SIN is mandatory to receive government grant under the RESP program. There may also be some other services that request for a Social Insurance Number. The sooner you get SIN for your children the better.
Social Insurance Number is Unique
Every person in Canada owns a unique Social Insurance Number. In other words every SIN belongs to one person only. Therefore you cannot share your SIN with others. Since SIN is attached to your identity it is important to protect it. Share your Social Insurance Number only with those whom you trust. Although you receive a SIN card I strongly recommend not to carry it in your wallet. In case of theft, SIN is the best tool for wrong-doers to access your identity and commit identity theft. If somebody manages to access your identity they may empty your bank accounts, abuse your credit cards, get loans on your behalf, and even put you into more serious troubles such as criminal accusations.
Who Does Issue SIN?
Service Canada is a federal government organization that issues SIN. You may refer to any Service Canada centre to request a Social Insurance Number. They usually issue the number immediately and then send you the SIN card within a few weeks. You do not need the card to start working; knowing the number is good enough. Visit the “Service Canada” website for more information about SIN [link].