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Social Insurance Number

A social insurance number (SIN) is a number issued in Canada to administer various government programs. The SIN was created in 1964 to serve as a client account number in the administration of the Canada Pension Plan and Canada's varied employment insurance programs. In 1967, Revenue Canada (now the Canada Revenue Agency) started using the SIN for tax reporting purposes. SINs are issued by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (previously Human Resources Development Canada).

The SIN is formatted as three groups of three digits (e.g., 123-456-789).

The top of the card has changed over the years as the departments that are responsible for the card have changed:

  • Manpower and Immigration
  • Employment and Immigration Canada
  • Human Resources Development Canada
  • Government of Canada

The 2012 Canadian federal budget contained provisions to phase out the Social Insurance Number cards because they lacked modern security features and could be used for identity theft. As of 31 March 2014, Service Canada no longer issues plastic SIN cards. Instead, an individual will receive a paper "Confirmation of SIN letter".

Wiktionary

social insurance number

n. (context Canada English) A nine-digit number issued by the government of Canada to citizens, permanent residents, and some categories of temporary residents, for official identification in the provision of government services and income taxation. Abbreviation: SIN.