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Social Insurance Number now provided in paper format


Social Insurance Number

Did you know

If you are a Canadian citizen, a newcomer to Canada, or a temporary resident, you need a Social Insurance Number (SIN) to work in Canada or to receive benefits and services from government programs.

A SIN is issued to one person only. It cannot legally be used by anyone else. You are responsible for protecting your SIN. Store any document containing your SIN and personal information in a safe place—do not keep it with you.

For more information on how to protect your SIN, check out this document: Your Social Insurance Number: A Shared Responsibility!

Applying for your Social Insurance Number

Service Canada has made it easy for you to apply for a SIN, to request a confirmation of your SIN, or to amend your SIN record. When applying in-person, you do not have to complete an application form nor do you have to mail your original proof-of-identity documents. Simply gather all the documents you need and take them to the nearest Service Canada point of service. If everything is in order, you will get your SIN during your visit.

As of March 31, 2014, individuals applying to receive their Social Insurance Number (SIN) will obtain the information in a letter instead of a plastic card.

Canadians will continue to use their SIN when starting a new job, applying for various government programs or services and for income tax purposes. For those circumstances, the existing SIN card, the letter (Confirmation of SIN) or any other government document containing the SIN can be used. SIN cards that are not expired and are currently in circulation can still be used or presented to employers if requested.

Service Canada continues to encourage individuals to keep their SIN cards in a safe place and to avoid carrying them on their person. All government documents containing personal information should be safeguarded.

This modernization of the SIN program will better protect the personal information of Canadians and will also save taxpayer money by reducing administrative costs.

For more information, please go to or call 1 800 O‑Canada.


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Quick Facts

  • Service Canada issues around 1.5 million SINs per year.
  • SIN cards should never be used as proof of identity and should not be kept in a wallet or a purse.
  • All government documents containing personal information, including the SIN, should be kept in a safe place.

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