Information for Employers
The Social Insurance Number (SIN) is used to administer many government benefits including Old Age Security, Canada Pension Plan, Canada Student Loans and Employment Insurance. As an employer, you play a leading role in protecting your employees' personal information and preventing fraudulent activities. Your employees' SIN is confidential and should only be used for income-related information.
The SIN card is not an identity document; it contains no photo and has no security features to guard against fraudulent use.
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.
Every person working in Canada must have a SIN. Starting on March 31, 2014, the production of the SIN cards will be discontinued. Service Canada will start to issue SINs to individuals in a paper format instead of a card. There will be no recall of existing SIN cards.
According to the Employment Insurance Regulations which came into force on April 30, 2013, employees are required by law to provide their SIN; they may do so by presenting a SIN card, letter (Confirmation of SIN) or other documentation showing the SIN. In addition, employer business operational procedures, documentation and forms may require modification to simply refer to the number and not the card.
If a new employee does not have a SIN and is eligible to work in Canada, instruct them to visit the nearest Service Canada Centre to apply in-person for a SIN. They will need to bring with them their original identity documents. Note: Photocopies of identity documents are not accepted. If their documents are in order, they will receive their SIN at the time of their visit.
Key employer responsibilities include:
- Requesting employees’ SIN within three days of them starting work and recording their number:
- Employees should be correctly identified by requesting other pieces of identification, before finalizing their employment documents.
- Ensuring that employees with a SIN beginning with the number "9" are authorized to work in Canada and have a valid immigration document:
- You are responsible for ensuring that the employee’s authorization to work corresponds to the period of employment and taking the necessary steps if you wish to renew or hire the employee again.
- If work is to be performed on a college or university campus, ensure that you have collected all the necessary information before hiring a foreign student.
- Protecting employee information in your possession from theft or misuse:
- Store all employees’ sensitive personal information in a secure area or on an encrypted computer system. Only allow access to the information on a need-to-know basis.
- The privacy and protection of employees’ personal information is paramount. If you discover that an employee’s SIN had been lost, stolen, disclosed in error or inappropriately used, take the steps necessary to minimize the damage.
- Other additional information that could assist you can be found in the SIN Code of Practice as well as with the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre and the Consumer Measures Committee.
- Contacting Service Canada when you question the validity of a SIN, or if you suspect a SIN is being misused:
- If you have concerns regarding a SIN you may contact Service Canada's Social Insurance Registration Office at 1-800-206-7218 (select Option "3"). Provide us with your Canada Revenue Agency issued business number along with appropriate identification.
To find out more information about your responsibilities as an employer, refer to the SIN Code of Practice.
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