If you want to legally work in Canada (and access some government services/benefits) you need a Social Insurance Number card (SIN).

A SIN is a 9 digit number that you need to legally work in Canada. You also need it to access some government services and benefits. It takes about 10 days to get the card if you apply in person, and 15 days if you apply by mail, so it’s a good idea to apply for one before you get a job.

Want to apply now? Find out how to get a SIN card.

When, and with whom, should I share my SIN?

There are a few times that you have to share your SIN. These include:

  • When you get a job and your employer asks you for you SIN. You need to give your employers your SIN so you can be paid, and work legally in Canada.
  • When you are applying for government services (including, OSAP and Ontario Works, for example)
  • When you are filing your taxes

There are some times when you will be asked to share your SIN. When you are opening a bank account, or signing a lease for an apartment, you might be asked for you SIN. In those cases, you don't need to give your SIN. It's your right to refuse. This is really important, because your SIN is a major identity card, so be careful when giving it away so you don’t have your identity stolen!