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Key Identity Documents

Here are the documents you need to safeguard.

Be careful what identification you provide, especially if it is one of the main identity documents – a birth certificate, driver’s license or social insurance number. These source documents can be used to produce other ID and gain access to more of your personal and financial information.

Driver’s License

A driver’s licence is the most universally accepted and trusted photo identification card issued by government. While its purpose is to show that you are allowed to drive, it is generally accepted as proof of identification, address, date of birth and residency. There is little risk to just providing a driver’s licence number, however, the actual licence, if stolen, scanned, faked or obtained fraudulently serves as a crucial tool for committing crime.

To replace a lost, stolen or destroyed driver’s licence visit an Alberta registry agent in person and bring sufficient documents to satisfy the registry agent of your identity. At least one of the documents should contain your picture. You may be asked to answer questions from you own motor vehicle history file in order to confirm your identity.

Birth Certificate

A birth certificate is the primary document for all citizens born in Canada to indicate citizenship. It is required when applying for a driver’s licence, passport, social insurance number as well as other provincial or federal programs. Unlike many ID documents, birth certificates don’t have an expiry date. You shouldn’t carry it in your wallet or purse. Keep it in a secure place such as a safety deposit box.

Individuals born in Alberta who need a replacement birth certificate must apply through a registry agent either in person or in writing. To find a registry agent near you, visit the Registry Agents page, check the yellow pages of your phone book under Licensing and Registry Services or call toll-free at 1-877-427-4088.

Social Insurance Number (SIN)

Social insurance numbers are used in a wide variety of databases as a primary identifier. Computer-savvy criminals can collect information about you by searching databases. Don’t give your SIN to anyone who isn’t authorized to collect the information. Don’t carry your SIN card in your wallet, purse or car. Keep it in a secure place like a safety deposit box.

To apply for a replacement SIN card, contact Social Development Canada at 1-800-206-7218 or visit their website (external site). You will be asked to prove your identity and status in Canada.

Permanent Resident Card

This card provides holders with secure proof of their permanent resident status when re-entering Canada on commercial carriers (i.e. plane, train, boat or bus). To replace a lost or stolen Permanent Resident Card, contact Citizenship and Immigration Canada at 1-800-255-4541 or visit their website (external site).

Certificate of Canadian Citzenship

The Certificate of Canadian Citizenship verifies that the holder is a Canadian citizen. The certificate is an official document issued by the Government of Canada. It can be used as definitive proof of citizenship status when applying for a job, passport, etc. It also acts as identification, showing the holder’s name, date of birth, height and sex, photograph and a signature.

To replace a lost or stolen citizenship certificate, contact Citizenship and Immigration Canada at 1-888-242-2100 or visit their website (external site).


A Canadian passport is the only proof of Canadian citizenship and identity accepted in all countries. You should report the loss or theft of your passport as soon as it is noticed to the local police and to Passport Canada by calling 1-800-567-6868 or by visiting their website (external site) or the nearest Canadian government office if you are outside Canada.

Before the document can be replaced, Canadian authorities will conduct an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the loss. A replacement passport (which may be valid for a limited period only) may be authorized provided strict requirements are met.