Before reviewing the information below, please see ISS' COVID-19 FAQs and resources pages for up to date information on the impact of COVID-19 on immigration related matters.
The Social Insurance Number (SIN) is a nine-digit number that you need to work (and get paid) in Canada.
Detailed information about the SIN is on the Service Canada website.
Employers must ask for the SIN of all new employees as soon as they are hired. You may apply for a SIN before you start working or up to three days after your start date. A SIN is also required for taxation purposes.
You should apply for your SIN in person at your nearest Service Canada centre. There is no charge for first-time applications.
Employment & Development Canada has a helpline specifically for SIN numbers at 1-800-206-7218 (option #3); contact info for Employment & Development Canada.
Other useful links:
A valid study permit with at least one of the following conditions/remarks:
- May accept employment on the campus of the institution at which registered in full-time studies
- May work 20 hrs off-campus or full-time during regular breaks if meeting criteria outlined in section 186(v) of IRPR **
- May accept employment on or off-campus if meeting eligibility criteria as per R186(f), (v) or (w). Must cease working if no longer meeting these criteria
If your study permit does not have one of the above conditions or remarks, you must submit a request for an amendment to your study permit before you can apply for a SIN. There is no fee for this request. The Request to Amend can only be submitted by mail and according to the Immigration Canada website, the current processing time for amendments is 1 month. Please make sure to include a copy of your original admission letter and proof of enrolment when applying for the amendment.
Students are ineligible if any of the following apply:
- They are registered in a general interest program
The SIN will begin with the number "9". Your SIN expires on the date indicated in the “expires on” field of the letter. This expiry date is based on the Immigration Canada document that authorizes you to work in Canada.
What if I have maintained status and am eligible to work, but I don't have a Social Insurance Number (SIN) yet (or my SIN has expired)?
A) If you're extending your status as a Student, you can legally continue to work under the same conditions as a student. If you've previously had a SIN, you can continue to work on your expired SIN until it is renewed. If you have never had a SIN, Service Canada will not issue one until you have your new Study Permit, however, you may be able to work - please see an advisor at ISS for more information.
B) If you've applied for your Post-Grad Work Permit (PGWP) before your Study Permit expired, you can legally work while waiting for your PGWP. If you've previously had a SIN, you can continue to work on your expired SIN until it is renewed. If you have never had a SIN, Service Canada will not issue one until you have your PGWP, however, you may be able to work - please see an advisor at ISS for more information.
Montreal Downtown/Southwest Montreal Service Canada Centre
Guy-Favreau Complex, Office 034
200 René-Lévesque Blvd West
Phone: 1-800 O-CANADA (1-800-622-6232)
The Centre nearest to McGill's Macdonald campus is:
Pointe-Claire Service Canada Centre
6500, route Transcanadienne, ground floor, office 100
Phone: 1 800 622-6232
For other locations, call 1-800-O-CANADA (1-800-622-6232), or use Service Canada's online locator.