By Daisy Wright
"What is your SIN?" This normal question could startle any job seeker and have them wondering what his or her "sins" have to do with getting a job. In Canada, this is a legitimate question.
Before anyone can legally begin working in Canada, it is necessary to provide one's Social Insurance Number (SIN), a unique nine-digit number issued by the Canadian Federal Government to an individual. It is used to identify that person for employment, government benefit programs and/or services, and taxation purposes. This number cannot be used legally by another person.
If someone is a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident to Canada, or a temporary resident (with a work permit), he or she will need a Social Insurance Number (SIN). The Canadian SIN is similar to the Social Security Number used in the United States. It must be provided when applying for benefits and services from the government.
The Social Insurance Number plays an important role in the employment sphere. Without the number, the government would not be able to keep a record of a person's deductible earnings – income tax, Employment Insurance (EI), or Canada Pension Plan (CPP). Neither will the government be able to verify whether someone qualifies for and is eligible to receive certain benefits.
A newcomer to Canada, for example, would not be able to open a bank account without providing a SIN.
Each individual must provide a SIN to the following:
While the above is mandatory, there are situations when one is not obligated to provide a SIN or show the card, such as:
Some private-sector organizations may ask for the SIN, and although this practice is strongly discouraged, it is not illegal.
Since the Social Insurance Number is unique to each person, you should protect it from theft and fraud. Here are some basic precautions:
Service Canada is the federal government agency that oversees the issuance of the Social Insurance Number. For detailed information about the card click on this link: ServiceCanada.gc.ca.
About this author...
A Certified Career Management Coach, Daisy Wright is Author of "No Canadian Experience, Eh? A Career Success Guide for New Immigrants." She is also the founder of The Wright Career Solution, where she assists executives, managers, and other job-seeking professionals with their resumes, cover letters, social media profiles, and interview preparation. Daisy can be found blogging at Career Musings, hanging around in CareerTips2Go Cafe as the resident "Coach-on-Call," or tweeting as @CareerTips2Go and @NoCdnExperience.