Sinful Abuse of a SIN

For those of you who forget, “The Social Insurance Number (SIN) is a nine-digit number that you need to work in Canada or to have access to government programs and benefits”.  This from no less an authoritative source than the Service Canada web site

A Canadian Citizen (passport and all) recently applied to receive the Old Age and associated pensions and submitted the relevant forms complete with authenticated photocopies (yet another trip to the accountant).

Comes the Letter from Service Canada:

“We need proof of entry, a certified photocopy of your Record of Landing …”.

Seems that the applicant immigrated to Canada nearly 30 years ago, and, of course, the original British passport with any useful stamps had to be surrendered to get a new British passport while the subject was still a landed immigrant, clutching the A4-size paper sheet certifying landed immigrant status.

That sheet had to be surrendered in the post-9/11 panic in exchange for a laminated landed immigrant card.

That laminated card had to be surrendered with the application for a Canadian passport.

Talk About a Paper-Trail.

Here’s the catch:-

To get a “certified photocopy of your Record of Landing (IMM-1000)”, the applicant must now play “Press 3” with another federal government department “Citizenship and Immigration”, listen to soothing music for ten minutes, and then request a paper form be mailed out (as an alternative to downloading potentially the wrong form from the web).

The paper form, regardless of source, once completed is to be mailed in to Citizenship and Immigration with a thirty-dollar cheque so that a Record of Landing (IMM-1000) can be mailed back to the applicant who will then mail it forwards to Services Canada.

Canada Post must be praying that the applicant doesn’t die before all the postage stamps have been purchased and used.

“So What?”, You Ask.

Ask instead:-

What do I think a Social Insurance Number should do for me?

Social Insurance ought to be about things like pensions, benefits, pensions, income enhancements, pensions, pensions and pensions.

And isn’t the SIN the property of the federal government?

And since the applicant started off by delivering a sheaf of documents, signed and disclaimed etc , oughtn’t one federal government department (whose first title word is “Service”) be allowed to contact the presumably on-good-speaking-terms Federal Immigration Department and say something like:-

“Would you please deliver an electronic précis of the paper-trail for this SIN?”?

That ought to be the classic use or purpose of a SIN – taking care of business as we approach old-age, if not senility and poverty.

After nearly 30 years of being asked to declare a SIN for every conceivable purpose except booking a table for two at The Montreal Deli, comes the time when the SIN could serve its true purpose, and it is bypassed, shunned, shunted off to the side while we all fall back on paper.

I Hope that Canada Still has Lots of Trees.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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