Canadian citizens and permanent or temporary residents cannot work or pay their taxes without a Social Insurance Number (SIN). If you lose this number, you can no longer opt for SIN card replacement. Plastic SIN cards were phased out in 2014, but you can request a confirmation of your SIN. Under certain circumstances, it's possible to obtain a new SIN from Service Canada.
Service Canada stopped issuing SIN cards in 2014. If you lose your card, you may request a SIN confirmation letter online, in person or by mail for free.
The Social Insurance Number issued in Canada serves similar purposes as the Social Security Number in the U.S. and the National Insurance Number in the UK. Both residents and non-residents need this nine-digit number to work and access government programs, as well as for tax purposes. The SIN cannot be used as an identification document, but this doesn't mean it's any less important.
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Plastic SIN cards are no longer being produced because they lack modern security features. However, those that are currently in circulation can still be used, according to the Government of Canada. If your SIN card is lost or stolen, you can request a SIN in paper format instead of a new card. This service is available to any Canadian citizens over the age of 12 and permanent or temporary residents.
Service Canada doesn't issue new SINs to those who lose their Social Insurance Number card. Instead, they may request a confirmation of their SIN. The Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants suggests visiting the nearest Service Canada Center. If you're a Canadian citizen, bring any of the following documents:
- Certificate of Canadian citizenship
- Certificate of Indian status
- Certificate of registration of birth abroad
- Birth certificate
Permanent residents will need to show proof of residency, such as a record of landing issued before June 2002 or their permanent resident cards. Temporary residents must bring a valid work or study permit, diplomatic identity card or visitor record, explains the Government of Canada. Additional documents may be required in some cases. If you bring everything you need, you should get a SIN confirmation letter on the spot.
Know Your Options
Service Canada only accepts original documents. If you cannot bring them in person, you may apply over the internet or by mail. To apply online, head over to the Government of Canada's official website and fill out the application form; enter your personal data in the designated fields and then submit digital copies of your documents. If you decide to apply by mail, fill out and send Form NAS-2120 along with your original documents to the nearest Service Canada Center. In either case, you will receive a SIN confirmation letter.
Social Insurance Card replacement is no longer an option, but you may request a new SIN if your card was used fraudulently. First, you must report it to the police. Next, check your credit report, bank accounts and mail for unusual activity. If you have proof that your SIN card fell in the wrong hands, you'll get a new Social Insurance Number in paper format.
The Government of Canada recommends using your SIN only when it's absolutely necessary. You are not legally required to share it when renting an apartment, cashing a check or attending job interviews. Likewise, you don't need this number to sign up for internet or phone services, apply for a mortgage or fill out medical forms. Keep your SIN in a safe location to avoid fraud and identity theft.
- Government of Canada: Social Insurance Number – Overview
- Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants: What Do I Do if My SIN Is Lost or Stolen?
- Government of Canada: Social Insurance Number – What You Need Before You Apply
- Government of Canada: Social Insurance Number Application (SIN)
- Service Canada: NAS-2120 Application for a Social Insurance Number
- Government of Canada: Protecting Your Social Insurance Number
Social Insurance Card Replacement