Section 3 - Employers' Responsibilities
Employers must see the employee's SIN card and record the Social Insurance Number within three (3) days of hiring so they can provide him or her with Records of Employment and various year-end reporting slips such as the T4 for income tax purposes. Employers also use SINs to record and forward employee payroll deductions for income tax, the Employment Insurance (EI) program, Canada Pension Plan (CPP) or Quebec Pension Plan (QPP), and Quebec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP).
3.1 Service Canada’s Commitment to Employers
Employers play a vital role in protecting the SIN from misuse, fraud, and theft. Five key responsibilities for employers are:
- Employers are required by law to ask a new employee to show his or her SIN card to them no more than three (3) days after he or she starts a new job.
- Employers must see a new employee's confirmation of a SIN application if they do not already have a SIN
- If a new employee does not have a SIN, but is eligible to work in Canada, the employer should tell the employee to apply for a SIN, and receive proof from the employee that an application has been made.
- Employers can contact Service Canada's Social Insurance Registration office at 1-800-206-7218 and select option “3” or 1-506-548-7961 if outside of Canada (long distance charges may apply) to confirm the SIN of a current or former employee, and ensure that a new employee's SIN is correct. Employers will be required to provide their business number (issued by the Canada Revenue Agency), as well as appropriate identification regarding the company and the SIN holder.
- Employers must ensure that employees' SINs beginning with a number “9” have not expired before hiring them. These are issued to temporary foreign workers. Employers must also verify that these employees are authorized to work in Canada.
- Before hiring a new employee that has a SIN beginning with the number “9”, the employer must inspect the card to ensure that the number has not expired, and verify the employee's authorization to work issued by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). All terms and conditions on the work permit, including authorized dates and locations of work, must be verified for the employer to hire this person.
- For more information about hiring temporary foreign workers, visit the CIC website or call 1-888-242-2100.
- Employers must protect their employees' personal information, especially Social Insurance Numbers, from theft and misuse.
- Employees' personal information should be stored and disposed of safely and securely. Only authorized persons should be allowed to see this information.
- Employers should follow the Employers Dos and Don'ts: Requesting, Collecting, Using and Storing the SIN, in Annex 6.
- If employees' SINs are stolen or inappropriately used or disclosed, an employer must take immediate steps to minimize the potential damage. See Annex 4, SIN at Risk: Action Plan for Organizations, for more information.
- Employers must inform Service Canada if they suspect a Social Insurance Number is being misused.
- Employers play a leading role in detecting and preventing SIN-related fraud because illegal employment and/or income tax evasion are two of the main motives for SIN fraud.
- It is an offence under the Income Tax Act for an employer to knowingly employ someone who is using a fraudulent SIN.
- An employer who suspects that a SIN is being used fraudulently must immediately report the situation to Service Canada's Social Insurance Registration Office at 1-800-206-7218 and select option “3” or 1-506-548-7961 if outside of Canada (long distance charges may apply).
3.2 Questions and Answers about the SIN and Employers
- How can employers verify the SIN of a new employee if they suspect he or she may not be who he or she claims to be?
Employers can contact Service Canada at 1-800-206-7218 and select option “3” to verify the SIN of any present or former employees. They will be required to provide their business number (issued by the Canada Revenue Agency) as well as appropriate identification about the company and the SIN holder.
- Can payroll service providers call Service Canada 's Social Insurance Registration Office to verify the SINs of their employees?
Only employers are permitted to verify an employee's SIN from the Social Insurance Registration Office. Since payroll service providers are not the person's employer, they cannot verify SINs with the Office. However, it is understood that in order to fulfill their roles and responsibilities to their client or to the employer, the payroll service providers must receive the employees' SINs. This requirement should be included in a contractual agreement and these agencies must adhere to the Code.
- What are temporary Social Insurance Numbers?
Temporary SINs begin with the number “9” and bear an expiry date corresponding to the date the foreign worker is authorized to work in Canada , which has been granted by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). The SIN is issued for employment purposes to people who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents (for example, temporary workers), but who are legally entitled to work in Canada.
- Do all temporary Social Insurance Numbers expire?
Yes. All temporary SIN cards beginning with the number “9” must have an expiry date corresponding to the date the foreign worker is authorized to work in Canada .
- What should an employer do if an individual produces a SIN card that does not have an expiry date?
All temporary SIN cards beginning with the number “9” that do not bear an expiry date expired on April 3, 2004 . You should ask the holder of this card if he or she has a valid SIN card. If the employee does not have a valid SIN card, you should ask the individual to apply for a valid immigration document and then apply for a replacement SIN card.
- What is implied status?
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 provides them the right to continue working or studying under the same conditions, pending a determination of their application for renewal, as long as they remain in Canada. This is referred as “implied status”. The temporary foreign worker will have implied status until a decision is rendered by CIC.
In this case, a SIN card bearing a new expiry date will only be issued once CIC has rendered a decision. To obtain a replacement SIN card with a new expiry date, the temporary foreign worker must apply and present a valid immigration document issued by CIC.For more information regarding “implied status”, visit the CIC website or call the CIC Call Centre at 1-888-242-2100.
- Many people use a nickname, middle name or another name. As an employer, how should I record the name of the employee if the name on the card is different from the one he or she uses?
For all employment records, record the name and SIN exactly as they appear on the SIN card. By law, if the SIN holder's name has changed (because of marriage or other circumstances), the person must apply for a SIN card under the new name within 60 days.
- How long are employers required to keep an employee's SIN?
Under the Employment Insurance Act, the Canada Pension Plan Act and the Income Tax Act, employers who have to withhold or deduct CPP contributions, EI premiums and taxes, are required to keep their records for at least six years from the end of the last year the person was employed.
- What can employers do if they suspect an employee has a fraudulent SIN?
Every year, stolen, lost, borrowed and fabricated SIN cards are used to defraud individuals, businesses and governments. Employers help to prevent fraud by requiring new employees to produce their SIN card and by recording the name and SIN exactly as they appear on the card.
If an employer suspects that a SIN is being used fraudulently, contact Service Canada's Social Insurance Registration Office at 1-800-206-7218 and select option “3” to verify the SIN used by an employee. To do this, employers are required to provide Service Canada with their business number (issued by the Canada Revenue Agency) along with appropriate identification for the company and the SIN holder.
- Can employers use the SIN as an employee identifier?
The SIN should not be used as an employee identifier. Employers are strongly discouraged from doing this because of the importance of the SIN and the serious problems that could arise if the employee's personal information is placed at risk. Use another system of identification to protect your employees' privacy and maintain the integrity of the SIN.
3.3 Service Canada's Commitment to Employers
Identity fraud, including stolen, lost and borrowed SINs, can lead to increased costs for individuals, businesses and governments. It is particularly important to safeguard the SIN since anyone legally entitled to work in Canada has a SIN, which is the key identifier used to obtain many government services and benefits. Employers can help prevent SIN fraud by recording the employee's SIN and name exactly as they appear on the SIN card, keeping unauthorized persons from seeing SIN files, and reporting suspected misuse. If you suspect that a SIN is being misused, call 1-800-206-7218 and select option “3”, to confirm the identity of the SIN holder and/or report suspicious use of a SIN.
All SIN holders share, with Service Canada, the responsibility of protecting their SIN from inappropriate use, fraud and theft. Everyone should do their part to ensure their personal information in the Social Insurance Register (the Register) is accurate and complete. Service Canada and its partner departments take this responsibility very seriously and have many ways of safeguarding SINs and the accuracy of the Register.
To fulfill this responsibility to employers, Service Canada is committed to:
- confirming and/or providing the SIN of an employer's employees for income tax or payroll purposes
- offering guidance, information and tools to help employers fulfill their SIN responsibilities
- providing assistance to employers when SIN information in their care has been put at risk
- working with employers to detect, report and investigate suspected misuse of a SIN.
For a full description of Service Canada's roles and responsibilities related to the SIN, refer to Section 5, Service Canada and its Partners' Responsibilities.
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