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Service Canada modernizes online access to Social Insurance Numbers

by HR Law Canada

In a move towards modernization, Service Canada has enhanced its online My Service Canada Account (MSCA) platform. The upgrade now allows users to securely view their Social Insurance Number (SIN) online.

This development is seen as an effort to respond to the evolving technology landscape and the changing service delivery expectations of Canadians.

Users who apply for a new SIN online will be provided with a digital confirmation of their SIN on their MSCA. For those who have an existing SIN and are MSCA account holders, their SIN will be accessible within the application.

Individuals who possess an SIN but haven’t yet created an MSCA account can secure online access to their SIN after setting up their account and confirming their identity. However, the traditional method of receiving a SIN confirmation letter by mail will remain unchanged.

Service Canada’s primary motivation behind this digital shift appears to be enhancing efficiency. It aims to decrease the need for clients, especially international students and newcomers – who majorly contribute to SIN service transactions – to make in-person visits to a Service Canada Centre. The new system empowers users to manage their SIN processes entirely online, avoiding physical queues and giving them 24/7 access to a digital copy of their SIN.

The updated MSCA registration procedure has been tweaked to be more accommodating. Earlier, a SIN was mandatory during the identity verification phase. With the new changes, online SIN applicants can register for an MSCA without the need for a SIN. Other identity markers, such as the Unique Client Identifier issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, or the Birth Registration Number from a Canadian birth certificate, coupled with a SIN application number, are now acceptable for MSCA registration.

Minister of Citizens’ Services, Terry Beech, emphasized Service Canada’s dedication to refining government service delivery. He stated, “Applying for and viewing your Social Insurance Number online removes the need to go in-person to a Service Canada Centre and gives clients the flexibility of applying online at their convenience. We will continue to identify gaps and areas of improvement to ensure that Canadians receive the highest quality of service.”

Further data underscores the need for such advancements. SIN applications have seen a significant rise in Canada, largely attributed to the increasing number of newcomers. This surge has placed considerable pressure on in-person services at Service Canada Centres. During the fiscal year 2022–2023, of the 2.6 million SIN transactions noted, newcomers, including international students and temporary or permanent residents, represented a substantial 70% (1.8 million) of the clientele.

To keep up with demand, Service Canada has pledged to process the Social Insurance Number within five business days, contingent on the online application being completed with all essential documents. Upon processing, the SIN will be visible on the client’s MSCA.

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