Service Canada

Service Canada

December 08, 2006 12:05 ET

Service Canada: Applying for a Social Insurance Number: Fast, Simple, Secure

MISSISSAUGA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Dec. 8, 2006) - The Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Social Development Canada, today announced the launch of an improved service that cuts the amount of time it takes to get a Social Insurance Number (SIN) from weeks to hours. Social Insurance Number: Fast, Simple, Secure will benefit those who need to apply for the first time, replace their card, or amend their records.

With the appropriate documents in hand, such as a birth certificate, people can now visit any Service Canada Centre across the country, where an agent will help them submit their application online, answer questions, and then issue their new SIN right on the spot. The card will be sent by mail in five working days.

A SIN is needed to work in Canada, as well as receive benefits and services from government programs. The Government of Canada issues 1.3 million Social Insurance Numbers per year.

"Canada's new government, through Service Canada, is working to improve the delivery of government programs and services," said Minister Finley. "Making it easier, faster, and more secure to apply for a new SIN is a move that will benefit Canadians across the country."

In addition to simplicity and speed, Social Insurance Number: Fast, Simple, Secure offers applicants enhanced security of personal information. By applying in person, and obtaining their SIN on the same day, people can avoid sending personal documents by mail.

This news release is available in alternative formats upon request. Call 1 800 788-8282 on a touch-tone phone, or through a teletypewriter (TTY).


Individuals who need a Social Insurance Number (SIN) can now get one in person by visiting their nearest Service Canada Centre (SCC). As long as they bring the right documents to prove their identity, they will get their number that very day.

All Canadians need a SIN at some point in their lives, whether it's to get a job, receive social benefits, or register their children in an education savings plan.

The improved application project has been successfully piloted in five SCC offices. Clients obtained their number in less than an hour and found the improved service easier, quicker and more secure and private.

Staff at all Service Canada Centres across Canada have been trained and certified on the new process, and are now able to offer it to clients.

How the process works

- At an SCC, an agent meets with applicants;

- The agent checks the person's proof-of-identity documents and other personal information;

- The agent enters their information directly into the Social Insurance Register (SIR) containing SINs and pertinent vital events information about applicants; and,

- If everything is in order, the agent issues a confirmation of the person's SIN immediately, and the card follows in the mail shortly afterwards.

Summary of primary documents required to obtain a SIN

Applicants must provide a primary document, such as a birth certificate, that proves their identity and status in Canada. If the name on that document is different from the name currently used, they also need to provide a supporting document. Documents must be originals, not copies, and written in English or French. Applicants must submit one of the following documents:

Canadian Citizens

1. Birth certificate issued in Canada by the vital statistics branch of the applicant's province or territory of birth;

2. Certificate of Canadian Citizenship; or,

3. Certificate of Registration of Birth Abroad.

Permanent Residents (born outside of Canada)

- Permanent Resident Card

Temporary Residents

- Work Permit/Employment authorization;

o Study Permit/Student Authorization AND a contract of employment (from learning institution or employer on campus);

o Visitor Record indicating eligibility for work in Canada; or,

o Diplomatic Identity Card AND a note of permission of employment (both issued by Foreign Affairs Canada).

Ensuring Security and Privacy

- The SIN program abides by federal privacy legislation.

- Service Canada ensures that only personal information used to obtain a SIN is collected, used, stored and disclosed.

- Information is only disclosed to those who have a legal right to see it such as authorized federal programs.

- The department works closely with law enforcement on cases of identity fraud and theft.

- SIN fraud is an offence and the penalty is a fine of up to $1000 and/or imprisonment of up to one year.

- SIN Application Data

Each year an average of 1.3 million people apply for a SIN. In 2004-2005, there were 1,304,515 SIN applications in Canada (in-person, mail, new, replacement, amendments, change of status):


Group Type of card Number % %
Canadian Citizens Regular SIN card 824,192 63% 63%
Permanent Resident Regular SIN card 271,209 21% 37%
Other: Temporary 900-series SIN 209,114 16%
foreign workers, card with expiry
foreign students, date matching work
refugees, visiting permit issued by
clergy, diplomats Citizenship and
Immigration Canada
TOTAL 1,304,515 100% 100%

The 900 Series SIN Card

- SINs that begin with a 9 are temporary and issued to people who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents;

- SINs are needed for employment and some government benefits;

- A temporary SIN is valid until the end of the person's authorized stay in Canada. The expiry date is determined by Citizenship and Immigration Canada; and,

- To apply for a temporary SIN, you need a Work Permit/Employment authorization and a contract of employment.

Contact Information

  • Media only:
    Minister Finley's Office
    Colleen Cameron
    Service Canada
    Media Relations Office
    Public Enquiries:
    1-800-O-Canada (1-800-622-6232)
    TTY: 1-800-926-9105