How to Register for a GCKey To Look Up Your CPP Information Online: Part One

A few months ago I went to the My Service Canada Account website to look up some information on our CPP payments. I unpleasantly found out that they have changed their secure access method and my Personal Access Code was no longer of any use. So today I finally found the time to apply again, this time to register for a GCKey so that I could deal online with the government to check on our Canada Pension Plan contributions.


You can get a GCKey by applying electronically, by telephone, fax, mail or in person.

Getting a GCKey is slow for first time users. You will first have to request a Personal Access Code online. This PAC will be mailed to you. Then you can use it to sign up.

Part 1: How to Apply Online for a Personal Access Code for Your My Service Canada Account

To apply online for a Personal Access Code you will need:

  • your SIN
  • your first and last name as shown on your SIN card
  • your date of birth
  • your mother’s last name when she was born (not after she was married or changed it)
  • your mailing address (from your tax return) will have to be correct before you apply for a PAC
  1. With an internet browser on a secure computer, go to
    http://www.servicecanada.gc.ca/eng/online/pac/pacinfo.shtml
  2. Read the warnings about various current frauds.
    Look for and click on the link sentence:
    Are you a first-time user? Register now!
  3. Click on the link: request a personal access code online
    http://www.servicecanada.gc.ca/eng/online/mysca.shtml
  4. Read the information, then click the link: Continue to Privacy Notice Statement.
  5. Read the info, then click the link: Continue
  6. Fill in the required fields:
    • In the Social Insurance Number field, type your SIN.
    • In the First Name field, type your first name as reported on your SIN card.
    • In the Last Name field, type your last name as reported on your SIN card.
      NOTE: If you changed your last name when you married, but you didn’t change your last name on your SIN card, it will expect you to use your unmarried last name.
    • In the Date of Birth, type the year of your birth, then select the month and day of your birth from the drop-down lists.
    • In the Mother’s Last Name at Her Birth field, type in your mother’s unmarried last name.

    Review the information and if it looks correct, click on the Submit button.

  7. If all goes well, the next screen will request you to enter your Postal Code.
    • In the Postal Code field, type your Postal Code.
    • If you are a foreign resident (for example, if you are not living in Canada right now) select the Country you are living in from the drop-down list.

    Click on the Submit key.

  8. On the next screen, review the mailing address that they have on file for you. If it is correct, click on the Submit button.
    If it is not correct, click on the Cancel button. You will need to update your address with the government before you can order a Personal Access Code. See http://www.servicecanada.gc.ca/eng/sc/oas/pension/answer_cppaddress.shtml
  9. The statement says they will mail the PAC to this address within 5-10 business days.
  10. Click on the big red Log Out button on the right side of the screen!
    To complete the Log Out, click on the Continue button.
    To increase security, close your browser session.

So now we wait…..

(Don’t forget you can telephone and request them to mail you your CPP Statement of Contributions if you don’t want to plod through all of these steps.)



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10 thoughts on “How to Register for a GCKey To Look Up Your CPP Information Online: Part One

  1. I tried to get a PAC code online, got to the step where you enter postal code and it would not accept my postal code. Wonder why the system wouldn’t accept my postal code? I tried a few times and now it just gives me a message I need to call to get a PAC code. They say you can sign up to get it online but it sure is frustrating when their system is poorly constructed. I’ve had the same postal code for years !!!!!

    • Frustrating! Yes, their systems are very annoying. I have 2 government programs that won’t let me live on a Road. If I don’t type Rd it won’t accept my address. Not good!

  2. I too found it extremely difficult to access my Service Canada Account. Actually impossible. It would not take my previous credentials and it appears that it was terminated or taken off line (or something like that ) because I hadn’t used it in 2 years. There was no way to recover my account using the questions set p specifically for that purpose.

    I tried going through my Bank to access my account and after entering all the info to sign up, it took me to a page that made no sense as I was posed with the question:
    “Would you like to continue using your new username and password to access this service”; however, the username and password never was disclosed nor entered by me so I was totally confused. Further, I was unable to register/reregister for my account as I received an error page after agreeing to continue to accept my username/password (which I hoped would be shown to me).

    As far as the security questions, they should allow the user to set their own questions. Much of the questions proposed are not secure due to family knowledge. Close family members (estranged or quarrelling) and especially the ex-wife will know most of the answers to the questions posed. The ex-wife will know the SIN # and even the new financial (after separation) due to the requirement to disclose financials for support purposes.

    My ex-spouse stole my identity and CPP disability benefits because she knew my SIN # and all necessary information to get the call center to change the home address and bank account number as she or a friend impersonated me. CPP claimed I called in claiming tat I moved back to my ex-wife’s address. Hows that for stupidity on behalf of the government!

  3. Both the service canada site and the whole GCKey systems are a piece of sh** to use. So frustrating and convoluted. It comes back with cryptic error messages, won’t tell you which piece of information is incorrect. The whole idea of needing a PAC to register to use either service canada or Cra, after having gone through the security questions to obtain a GCKEY is insane! I know they’re trying to protect people’s data, but it’s overkill. The GCKey alone should suffice to use the services. Then, I don’t know why anyone would use the Sign-In partner (banks) option, rather than do it directly on CRA or Service Canada website. It’s another layer of confusion, as one has to jumps through more security hoops. Ther is no benefit. Never had so many problems as in past 2 months, where two different GCKeys were revoked (no explanation why). So, tonight had to create new GCKey, only not to be able to link it to CRA or Service Canada. Just got error msg. that the data does not match their records. I double che ked all my data and it is correct. Only think I suspect is that I have an old 7 digit PAC, but they don’t tell you that. I’ve applied for new PAC online, but they’ll only mail it in 10 days. Will see if this solves problem. Will go into Service Canada office on Monday, see if they’ll speed up the process or give me new PAC immediately. I believe that the IT people who designed the whole computer system are a bunch of computer illiterates and should find factory jobs.
    L

    • Sorry it’s been so difficult to use and I agree it is unnecessarily complex. The use of jargon (“GC Key” “PAC” etc.) doesn’t help either, especially since there is a naming convention out there for userids and passwords and so on that people are familiar with and which make things less stressful and confusing.

      I hope you’re able to get some help tomorrow.

  4. 4June17 I think two and half hours trying to use the site is quite enough challenge to my patience ability.
    I’ve had a previous GC Key and was on the site. Still had a pdf of my profile questions etc. Ah! but, they need a CPP access code…error R014. Absolutely ridiculous! I even have my mailed CPP Statement of Contributions with all the bar code and account numbers. None of it works.
    What a waste of valuable time!

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