Who do I need to give my Social Insurance Number (SIN) to?

Do not give your Social Insurance Number (SIN) number out to just anyone! It is a confidential number.

Some government organizations or private businesses ask for the SIN because it is a simple way to identify you. Many use it as a client account number so that they don't have to set up their own numbering system.

Only some government departments and programs are allowed to collect and use your SIN. However, there is no law that stops organizations from asking for it.

When to Give Your SIN

Here are some people and government departments or programs that are allowed to collect and use your SIN:

  • Your employer - After you are hired
  • Employment Insurance Program (EI)
  • Canada Student Loan Program (CSLP)
  • Canada Pension Plan (CPP)
  • Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) - For example, when you file income taxes

This is not a complete list. For more examples, go to Who can ask for my SIN and when don't I have to provide my SIN? on the Service Canada website.

When You Do Not Have to Give Your SIN

You do not have to give your SIN when you:

  • Apply for a job (before you are hired)
  • Apply for a rental home
  • Negotiate a lease with a landlord
  • Apply for a credit card
  • Rent a car
  • Sign up for a cell (mobile) phone
  • Apply for a video club membership
  • Apply to a college or university

Can banks ask for my SIN?

You can open a bank account if you don't have a SIN. If you earn interest on money in your account, you will have to submit an income tax return to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). The banks will ask you if you have a SIN because they are obliged to report any interest you earn on money in your account to CRA. However, the banks do not need a SIN to report to CRA. The CRA can process your income tax return without a SIN.

For More Information

Last updated: November 13, 2015 4001096