The Social Insurance Number Code of Practice
Annex 2 - Authorized federal uses of the SIN
Collection, use and disclosure of the Social Insurance Number (SIN) by the federal government or other organizations are governed either by specific legislated uses and/or by Treasury Board policy authorization, as listed below. In addition, more than 150 provincial/territorial acts mention SIN use in their texts. For more information on provincial/territorial requirements for the SIN, consult your provincial or territorial government.
A. Legislated uses of the SIN
1. Department of Employment and Social Development Act and Employment Insurance Act
In accordance with the Department of Employment and Social Development Act and the Employment Insurance Act, the Canada Employment Insurance Commission is responsible for assigning SINs and maintaining a Register. People who have lost a job applied for EI or participated in employment programs administrated by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) or third parties, are eligible for benefits. Those who participated in services funded by ESDC, but administered by provincial or territorial governments, are also entitled to EI benefits and must provide their SIN to appropriate administrative body.
2. Employment Insurance Act
The Employment Insurance Act authorizes the creation and maintenance of a national employment service, known as Job Bank, which provides information on employment opportunities across Canada to help workers find suitable employment and help employers find suitable workers. The Social Insurance Number (SIN) is collected under the authority of the Employment Insurance Act and its Regulations and in accordance with the Treasury Board Secretariat Directive on the SIN.
3. Income Tax Act
Under the Income Tax Act, people filing a tax return must provide their SIN on their annual income tax return. Individuals need to provide their SIN to employers to get Records of Employment and year-end reporting slips (such as the T4 slip) for income tax and Canada Pension Plan purposes. This information is also used by government agencies to provide grants, loans or other forms of financial assistance. A SIN is again required when applying for the Canada Child Tax Benefit. In addition, individuals are required to provide their SINs to banks, trust companies, caisses populaires and stock brokers who sell financial products or services that generate interest so that this income may be reported to the Canada Revenue Agency.
4. Canada Pension Plan and Regulations and Quebec Pension Plan and Regulations
The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and the Quebec Pension Plan (QPP) are contributory, earnings-related social assistance programs. These programs ensure a measure of protection to the contributor and his or her family against the loss of income due to retirement, disability or death. To be accepted into the Canada Pension Plan or Quebec Pension Plan program, applicants must provide their name at birth as well as their present name, sex, address and SIN. Applicants may also be required to divulge their children's SIN for the purpose of determining if any of the contributors were ever family allowance recipients. The SIN is required for every person who works in pensionable employment in Canada. An applicant's SIN is validated to ensure the person is correctly identified and contributory earnings are posted correctly on their record. This ensures that benefits and entitlements can be accurately calculated.
5. Old Age Security Act and Regulations
Under the Old Age Security Act, the SIN is required when applying for Old Age Security (OAS) benefits. Most Canadians over the age of 65 receive the OAS pension. Low-income individuals may qualify for additional benefits such as the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS). SINs are collected to confirm the amount of Canada Pension Plan benefits, date of birth, marital status and date of death.
6. Canada Student Loans (Canada Student Financial Assistance Act and Regulations; Canada Student Loans Act and Regulations)
Under the Canada Student Financial Assistance Act and Canada Student Loans Act and Regulations, SINs are collected from those who borrow money under the Canada Student Loans Program (CSLP). The SIN is used to verify the applicant's name, gender and date of birth in order to monitor the giving of loans and repayments; to assess eligibility for the program; and for policy, evaluation and research analysis.
7. Canada Education Savings Grants (Budget Implementation Act, 1998)
In order to receive a Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG), individuals must provide their SIN so their eligibility for this grant can be verified with the Canada Revenue Agency.
8. Canada Elections Act
Please consult with Elections Canada regarding its legislated use of the SIN. The Canada Elections Act is available at the Department of Justice website.
9. Canada Labour Standards Regulations (Canada Labour Code)
The Canada Labour Standards Regulations, under the Canada Labour Code, govern occupational health and safety for workplaces under federal jurisdiction. The purpose of the Code is to prevent injury by protecting the health and safety of employees working under this jurisdiction. Under the Code, every employer must keep a record for each employee. This record contains the employee's full name, address, SIN, occupational classification, gender, personal work statistics, and start and end date of employment.
10. Labour Adjustment Benefits Act
Under the Labour Adjustment Benefits Act, the Labour Adjustment Benefits Program, which is overseen by the Labour Adjustment Review Board, provides benefits to certain employees between the ages of 56 and 65 who have lost their jobs. Applicants' SINs are collected to determine eligibility under the Employment Insurance Act, and to prevent fraud.
11. War Veterans Allowance Act and Regulations
Veterans Affairs Canada collects the SINs of Canadian Forces veterans to determine if they are qualified for allowances under the War Veterans Allowance Act. Information is provided to federal government institutions and departments or agencies of provincial or municipal governments that require it to determine whether an individual is entitled to any social or financial benefits. Information is also matched with Employment and Social Development Canada and the Canada Revenue Agency to verify income levels.
12. Farm Income Protection Act
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada collects the SINs of Canadian agricultural producers who have applied for income assistance under the Farm Income Protection Act. The SIN is collected to ensure that the information supplied to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada is consistent with information given to the Canada Revenue Agency for income tax purposes.
13. Federal Fuel Tax Rebate (Excise Tax Act – Gasoline and Aviation Gasoline Excise Tax Regulations)
The Canada Revenue Agency collects the SIN of individuals who have filed a gasoline refund claim. This claim provides individuals with a rebate of a portion of the federal sales tax paid on gasoline and diesel fuel purchased for off-highway use in certain activities (specified by the Excise Tax Act). It is not compulsory to provide the SIN when completing the Application for Federal Fuel Tax Rebate. The SIN is used as an identification number.
14. Goods and Services Tax (Excise Tax Act – Part IX)
The Goods and Services Tax (GST), or Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) in some provinces/territories, is payable on most goods and services sold or provided in Canada. The GST credit helps people with low and modest income to offset all or part of the GST they pay. Under the GST/HST portion of the Excise Tax Act and Regulations, individuals must provide their SIN to confirm their identity for income tax and benefit purposes and to update their records of earnings for contributions to the Canada Pension Plan or the Quebec Pension Plan.
15. Access to Basic Banking Services Regulations (Bank Act)
The Access to Basic Banking Services Regulations grants banks the authority to accept the SIN card as one of several identification options when an individual opens a retail deposit account or cashes Government of Canada cheques or other instruments.
16. Canada Disability Savings Act
The Canada Disability Savings Act governs Registered Disability Savings Plans. It requires all applicants to provide their SIN or the SIN of the beneficiary before the Canada Disability Savings Grant or Canada Disability Savings Bond can be paid.
17. Canada Student Financial Assistance Act and Regulations
The Canada Student Financial Assistance Act and Regulations governs the provision of financial assistance to students. The SIN of the student must be identified on the Certificate of Eligibility when issued by the appropriate authority of the province.
18. Family Support Orders and Agreements Garnishment Regulations (Family Orders and Agreements Enforcement Assistance Act)
The enforcement of family support obligations is primarily a provincial and territorial responsibility. However, the federal government provides assistance and support to provinces and territories in their enforcement activities. The Family Orders and Agreements Enforcement Assistance Act is a federal legislation that was established to assist the provinces and territories in their enforcement efforts by providing tools such as garnishment of designated federal moneys that would otherwise go to individuals who are in default of their family support obligations.
B. Authorized uses of the Social Insurance Number
In addition to official legislative uses, Treasury Board has also authorized a number of federal departments or agencies to use the Social Insurance Number to administer the following programs:
1. Resettlement Assistance Program
The Resettlement Assistance Program replaced the Immigration Adjustment Assistance Program in April 1998. The Resettlement Assistance Program collects the SINs of government-assisted refugees who require financial assistance and a range of immediate essential services after they arrive in Canada. The SIN is collected because some benefits provided by the program are taxable, and T-5 forms are issued each year for taxation purposes.
2. Income and Health Care Programs (Veterans Affairs Canada)
Veterans Affairs Canada collects the SINs of veterans, their spouses and dependants who were or are now in receipt of benefits payable under the War Veterans Allowance Act, the Civilian War-Related Benefits Act, the Pension Act, the Flying Accidents Compensation Regulations, the Gallantry Gratuities and Annuities Order and the Halifax Relief Commission Pension Continuation Act. The SIN is used to issue benefit cheques. Employment and Social Development Canada uses the SINs to determine the veteran’s Old Age Security benefits. Canada Revenue Agency uses it to verify the veteran's income. The SIN is also used to process the veteran's medical claims on behalf of Veterans Affairs Canada.
3. National Dose Registry for Occupational Exposures to Radiation (Health Canada)
The Consumer and Clinical Radiation Protection Bureau of Health Canada collects the SINs of workers who have been exposed to radiation on the job, so it can maintain the National Dose Registry for workers whose occupational radiation exposure has been monitored. The registry is used in statistical studies to support regulatory control of occupational radiation, and to advise anyone whose maximum permissible dose of radiation has been exceeded or is about to be exceeded.
4. Rural and Native Housing Program (Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation)
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) collects the SIN under the Rural and Native Housing Program. The SIN is used to identify patterns of loan repayment.
5. Social Assistance and Economic Development Program (Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada)
Please consult Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) regarding the use of the SIN under the Social Assistance Program and the Community Economic Development Program. For information on contacting Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, you can visit their website.
6. Aboriginal Human Resources Development Strategy
The Aboriginal Human Resources Development Strategy gives Aboriginal people access to employment programs and services, youth initiatives, funding for persons with disabilities and child-care programs for First Nations and Inuit families. The SINs of program participants are collected so government can evaluate how well the programs assisted participants to obtain or keep employment, and to determine a participant's need for further assistance.
7. Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities
The Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities provides benefits to unemployed individuals with a permanent physical or mental disability that limits their daily activity and means they require assistance to work or to become self-employed. The SINs of program participants are collected to monitor the income of clients who are receiving benefits.
8. Apprenticeship Grants
The Apprenticeship Incentive Grant is a taxable cash grant of $1,000 per year for registered apprentices once they have successfully completed their first or second year/level (or equivalent) of an apprenticeship program in one of the Red Seal trades. The SIN will be used as a file identifier, and to administer and enforce the AIG program.
The Apprenticeship Completion Grant (ACG) is a $2,000 taxable cash grant designed to encourage apprentices registered in a designated Red Seal trade to complete their apprenticeship program and receive their certification. The completion grant will be offered to apprentices who complete their training, become certified journeypersons in a designated Red Seal trade and who obtain either the Red Seal endorsement or a provincial or territorial Certificate of Qualification. Because the grant is tax deductible, a SIN is required when completing income tax forms.
9. Universal Child Care Benefit Program
The Universal Child Care Benefit Program issues a taxable $100 monthly payment to families for each child under the age of six to help cover the cost of child care. Families already receiving the Canada Child Tax Benefit will automatically receive the Universal Child Care Benefit. Because the benefit is tax deductible, a SIN is required when completing income tax forms.
10. Youth Employment Strategy
The Youth Employment Strategy (YES) is the Government of Canada's commitment to help young people, particularly those facing barriers to employment, get the information and gain the skills, work experience and abilities they need to make a successful transition to the workplace. The SIN is used to determine program eligibility.
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