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Tax Guide to Working in Canada


Similar to the British National Insurance number or the Australian Tax File number, the Social Insurance number (SIN) is necessary if you want to work in Canada. With an SIN, your employer can then pay your income tax, and register you as an employee. You should present your employer with your SIN card within three days of starting your job.

Applying for your SIN while you are in Canada is easier than applying for it before you arrive. When you get to Canada and start looking for work, apply at the nearest HRDC office for your SIN number. You’ll need your work permit/visa or study permit. If you apply outside of the country you will need to send your birth certificate (it has to be the original document, not a copy) and a letter of confirmation from the Canadian government or a bank proving why you need the number.

HRDC Offices in Canada

  • Vancouver, 125 East 10th Avenue - 604 872 7431
  • Calgary, 220- 4th Avenue South East - 1800 206 7218
  • Edmonton, 120 - 15710 87 Avenue - 780 871 6445
  • Ottawa, 300 Laurier Avenue West - 613 990 5100
  • Toronto, 25 St Clair Avenue East - 416 973 6915
  • Montreal, 1001 de Maissonneuve Boulevard East - 514 522 4444
  • Victoria, 3962 Borden Street - 250 727 6551

Canadians pay a lot of tax, in many different shapes and forms.  You will have to pay tax on anything you earn whilst in Canada, and it could be a substantial amount. If you are in Canada for more than  183 days in a year, you are a resident as far as the tax office is concerned, and you’ll need to fill in a tax return in April.

GST is Goods and Services Tax that is payable on loads of things you will buy and pay for as a tourist or traveller. Save your receipts and you can claim this back when you leave Canada.


There are a handful of main banks in Canada that have branches across the country.  While opening a bank account isn’t difficult, it is best to shop around for one. Banks in Canada seem to charge for everything, including ATM (cashpoint) withdrawals, so try to ensure that you open an account that either has so many free withdrawals per month, or has lower fees.