Service Canada Pilot Project at Toronto and Vancouver Airports: Social Insurance Numbers

November 5, 2014

All Points Relocation has recently learned that Service Canada has issued Social Insurance Numbers at Pearson International Airport and Vancouver International Airport to some, but not all, foreign nationals on global assignment to Canada, concurrently with their Work Permits.

All Points became aware of this during our Airport Welcome Services, wherein we review Work Permits for accuracy.

All Points has reached out to Services Canada directly and received no response to our queries.  However, we also conducted an interview directly at Pearson International Airport.  According to an officer with Canadian Border Services: “The issuance of Social Insurance Numbers concurrently with Work Permits is a pilot project initiated by Service Canada for international employees arriving Monday to Friday between the hours of 1:00 pm and 8:00 pm ONLY.”

All Points’ concern with concurrent issuance:

For the last year and more, All Points has seen a significant increase of Work Permits being issued with incorrect information and clerical errors. Such clerical errors can result in the inability for the global assignee to obtain a Social Insurance Number, Provincial Health Insurance, Driver’s Licensing and School Registration. During our Airport Welcome Service, All Points has been reviewing Work Permits for such errors and sending assignees back into Customs and Immigration to correct these errors, so that there is no future trouble in obtaining all necessary registrations.

While the concurrent issuance of Social Insurance Numbers with Work Permits ensures that those Work Permits are completed correctly from the perspective of Service Canada, it does not mean that they are completed correctly for the purposes of Provincial Health registration, driver’s licensing and school registration.  All Points is concerned that foreign nationals and expatriates could leave Customs and Immigration with a false sense of confidence in their Work Permit’s accuracy from the perspective of these other important registrations.  All Points has already found multiple errors (from the perspective of these other registrations) on Work Permits since the pilot project began.  Incorrectly completed Work Permits mean that global assignees must go to their origin country embassy to correct the Work Permit before being able to register for health insurance, driver’s licensing or school for their children.

All Points will continue to monitor and will update all in future relo-lerts.

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