Employers - What You Need To Know About Social Insurance Numbers

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

  1. Ask for the SIN of new employees within three days of when they start their employment.
  2. Ensure that any employees that have a SIN beginning with the number “9” are authorized to work in Canada.
  3. Protect your employee's SIN and personnel records.
  4. 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 each new employee's SIN within three days of them starting to work and record their number.

  • Ensure employees are correctly identified by requesting other pieces of identification before finalizing their employment documents.
  • 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.
  • 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 any employees that have a SIN beginning with a "9" are authorized to work in Canada and that their immigration document has not expired.

  • SINs beginning with a “9” are issued to temporary workers who are neither Canadian citizens nor permanent residents. These SINs are valid only until the expiry date indicated on the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) document authorizing the person to work in Canada.
  • Employers must continue to see the employee's existing immigration document authorizing them to work in Canada (e.g. work permit, study permit) and verify that the immigration document is not expired.

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!
(SC-237-07-12).

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).

CLICK servicecanada.gc.ca
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
on our website, or call 1 800 O-Canada (1-800-622-6232) TTY 1-800-926-9105.

You can also write to us at:

Service Canada
Social Insurance Registration Office
PO Box 7000
Bathurst NB  E2A 4T1
CANADA

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.