The Privacy Act permits the disclosure of personal information when an Act of Parliament so authorizes.
The Bank Act authorizes The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions to publish (in the Canada Gazette, available at most libraries) information about all unclaimed balances of $100 or more, once they have been inactive for nine years. This information includes the creditor's name, last known address, and balance amount. The purpose is to help people locate balances that may be owed them.
If still unclaimed by the end of the tenth year, these balances are then given to the custody of the Bank of Canada, which in turn assumes responsibility for publishing the above information.
Unclaimed bank balances held at the Bank of Canada are exclusively Canadian-dollar deposits in, and negotiable instruments issued by, Canadian banks at locations in Canada.
They can be in the form of deposit accounts, bank drafts, certified cheques, deposit receipts, money orders, or traveller's cheques.
Unclaimed bank balances are maintained by the Bank of Canada, which acts as custodian on behalf of the owner, when there has been no owner activity in relation to the account for a period of 10 years and when the owner cannot be contacted by the Canadian bank holding that asset.
Follow our instructions.
You will need documents proving your identity and connecting you with the account. If you are an heir, or are making a claim in some representative capacity, you will need appropriate documentation of your status or authority.
When you identify an unclaimed balance which you believe you are probably entitled to, you will have to complete the claim form which you will obtain from this site. Follow the instructions carefully, obtain the necessary signatures, and return it to the address shown. Be sure to attach all requested documentation to support your claim to ownership.
When we receive your completed claim form, we review it carefully and compare it with information on file. We will contact you if we need additional information. Once we receive all required documentation and have established ownership, we will pay the claim.
We generally process and pay claims within 30 to 60 days from receipt of a claim. Some claims involving estates may take longer.
No. The Bank of Canada does not charge a fee for searching its records.
The Bank of Canada provides this service free of charge. However, you may have to incur legal fees or notarial fees to provide us with legal evidence that you are entitled to claimed funds.
The Bank of Canada maintains custody of all balances of $500 or more indefinitely, until they are claimed. Unclaimed balances under $500 are retained for 20 years (10 years from the date of the last owner transaction at the Canadian bank, plus an additional 10 years at the Bank of Canada). Consequently, in the case of balances under $500, a written claim must be received by the Bank of Canada no later than December 31 of an account's last year (that is, the year of the last transaction date + 20 years).
Canadian banks have a legal obligation to send written notification after 2 and 5 years of inactivity.
To help find the owners:
The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) publishes all unclaimed balances of $100 or more in the year prior to their potential transfer to the Bank of Canada (i.e., in the ninth year of inactivity). This is published in the Canada Gazette; which is available at all public libraries.
The Bank of Canada makes information available to the public without charge:
A request for a search must include the full name of the individual, the addresses of his/her past residences, and the year of death if the individual is deceased.
The full list of unclaimed balances may also be purchased on a CD-ROM (data only) for $72 plus GST and PST plus $3 for shipping. Send your request and money order or certified cheque to the Bank of Canada at the above address.
As at the end of December 2004, approximately 804,000 unclaimed balances, worth some $245 million, were on the Bank's books. Over 88% of these were under $500 representing 22% of the total value outstanding. The oldest balance dates back to 1900.
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