A question we get sometimes get on our Facebook page is “who can ask for my social insurance number (SIN) and when don’t I have to provide it?” Here is some information we found about limiting who has access to your SIN.

While this particular topic falls outside of the areas we regulate, we always want to share useful information with consumers. For this blog post, we sourced our information from Service Canada (Service Canada is responsible for issuing SINs).

Who’s legally allowed to ask for my SIN?

According to Service Canada, the collection, use and disclosure of your SIN by the federal government or other organizations are guided by specific legislation and/or by authorization from the Treasury Board. Here are a few of the most common uses of your SIN (for a full list, check out this page):

  • For employment purposes (after you have the job)
  • For income tax information purposes
  • To get Canada Pension Plan benefits
  • To get Employment Insurance benefits
  • In relation to child support payments

When don’t I have to provide my SIN?

Service Canada says that while it’s not illegal for some non-government organizations to ask for your SIN, it’s strongly discouraged. Here are instances when you don’t have to provide your SIN (for a full list, visit Service Canada):

  • When you complete a job application (before you get the job)
  • When you submit a property rental application
  • When you complete a credit card application
  • When you cash a cheque
  • When you complete a medical questionnaire
  • When you rent a car

Finally, and as a reminder, always keep your SIN in a safe place and only provide it in instances when it is legally required.

ADDITIONAL READING:

Tips to prevent identity theft
Information access – what does it mean for you?
Sharing your personal information