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Guidelines Use of Social Insurance Numbers

Guidelines – Use of Social Insurance Numbers

Social Insurance Numbers were originally introduced in 1964 for the purpose of providing an individual a file number to record that individual's contributions and entitlements for the Canada/Quebec Pension Plans, Old Age Security and Unemployment Insurance. In 1967 it also became a file identifier for Revenue Canada. Over the years, the use of Social Insurance Numbers has expanded both inside and outside of government.

A Social Insurance Number (SIN) is considered to be personal information of an individual.

The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIP) Act, R.S.A. 2000, c. F-25 requires when personal information is collected directly from an individual, the person be informed of the purpose for which the information is being collected and the specific legal authority for the collection.

Athabasca University (AU) needs to review each and every collection of personal information to define the purpose(s) for the collection and under what legal authority it is collecting this information. This applies when collecting an individual's SIN.

AU cannot collect an individual's SIN for the purposes of:

  • using it as a identifier
  • using it as a file number
  • undetermined future needs
  • the needs of a third party such as a bank or funding organization.

AU will only collect an individual's SIN for payroll purposes (Income Tax, Unemployment Insurance, Canada Pension Plan). AU may disclose an individual's SIN to a third party (e.g., bank or funding organization) if the individual's consent is obtained.

Legislated uses of the SIN include:

  • Alberta Personal Income Tax Act
  • Budget Implementation Act (Canada Education Savings Grants)
  • Canada Elections Act
  • Canada Labour Standards Regulations (Canada Labour Code)
  • Canada Pension Plan Regulations (Canada Pension Plan)
  • Canada Student Financial Assistance Act
  • Canada Student Loans Regulations (Canada Student Loans Act)
  • Canadian Wheat Board Act
  • Employment Insurance Act
  • Excise Tax Act (Part IX)
  • Garnishment Regulations (Family Orders and Agreements Enforcement Assistance Act)
  • Farm Income Protection Act
  • Gasoline Excise Tax Regulations (Excise Tax Act)
  • Income Tax Act (Canada)
  • Labour Adjustment Benefits Act
  • Old Age Security Regulations (Old Age Security Act)
  • Tax Rebate Discounting Regulations (Tax Rebate Discounting Act)
  • Veterans Allowance Regulations (War Veterans Allowance Act).

Other authorized uses of the social insurance number include:

  • Income and Health Care Programs (Veterans Affairs Canada)
  • Immigration Adjustment Assistance Program (Citizenship and Immigration Canada)
  • Labour Adjustment Review Board (Human Resources Development Canada)
  • National Dose Registry for Occupational Exposures to Radiation (Health Canada)
  • Rural and Native Housing Program (Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation)
  • Social Assistance and Economic Development Program (Indian and Northern Affairs Canada)
  • Income Tax Appeals and Adverse Decisions (Revenue Canada).

Office of the University Secretariat, July 2006

Updated May 30 2014 by Office of the University Secretariat

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