Social Insurance Number Cards will be phased out March 31, 2014 when new SINs will be issued in letter format only.
Social Insurance Numbers (SIN) were first issued starting in 1964 to workers in Canada. This was the means to register for federal government programs, primarily Employment Insurance (EI) and the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) program.
It wasn’t until 1967 that the SIN was used as an identifier for tax purposes. The wallet-sized SIN was never intended to be used as an identity card, as it does not contain any security features or identifying attributes.
Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) has committed to stop the production and distribution of the SIN card. Operationally, this will be achieved by March 31, 2014, when new SINs will be issued in letter format only.
Social Insurance Number (SIN) cards currently in circulation will remain valid. This decision supports the Government’s agenda to modernize and streamline operations in order to decrease costs and to achieve better value for money. The impact on individual Canadians will be negligible.
Employers are reminded that they are required to ask to see either the SIN letter / card after hiring an employee. Whether a letter or card is provided will depend on the individual’s circumstances.