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This is my first job in Canada. What do I need to work?

This is my first job in Canada. What do I need to work?
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Reviewed: 
June 5, 2019
Answer

You will need a Social Insurance Number (SIN).

A SIN is a 9-digit number that you need to work in Canada or to use government programs and get benefits.

Your employer uses your SIN on forms that they have to fill out related to your work. For example, your SIN goes on income tax, Employment Insurance, and Canada Pension Plan forms.

If you're not a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident, your SIN will start with the number 9. An employer will know by your SIN that you:

  • don't have the right to remain permanently in Canada
  • might need a work permit from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

If you don't have a SIN, you need to apply for one.

Work permits

If you're not a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident, you might also need a work permit from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

An employer can ask to see your work permit to prove that you have the right to work in Canada.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has a list of jobs that foreign workers can do without a work permit. For example, an international student in a full-time program might not need a work permit.

Keep your documents safe

Your employer does not have the right to keep your passport, immigration documents, or other personal papers. But sometimes employers want to do this.

If your employer asks to keep your documents or takes them and won't give them back, you may want to get legal help.

If you're not a Canadian citizen or permanent resident and you have problems related to your employer taking your documents, you might need to get legal advice about your status in Canada.

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