What is a Social Insurance Number (SIN)?
Before you can get a job in Canada, you will need a Social Insurance Number (SIN). A SIN is a nine-digit number that you need to have to work in Canada or access government programs and benefits. All Canadians, permanent residents, and temporary residents are required to have a SIN, and children over the age of 12 can apply for a SIN if needed. This number is unique to you, which means that everyone in Canada has their own SIN which is not shared with anyone else. This number is used by the government to identify you, so make sure you keep it secret and safe.
How to apply for a Social Insurance Number
There is no fee to apply for a SIN number. You can apply online or by mail.
The Government of Canada has an online application guide which states everything you need to know to apply for your SIN number, including the necessary documents and forms. If you have documents that require translation, you will need to do that before you apply for a SIN (the website explains specific requirements to verify the translated documents are correct, so it’s important to follow their instructions).
In Canada, there are several different scams or harmful activities that criminals may try to get access to your SIN and steal your identity. The Government of Canada and/or the governments of its provinces, territories, and cities, will NOT ask you for your SIN over the phone or by email.
- Do not share your SIN with anyone except your employer and/or the Government of Canada.
- Do not give your SIN number over the phone or by email. Only give your SIN directly to your employer or to a government representative in-person, or on the official website.