When people move around the country and have multiple bank accounts and bonds and RSPs, sometimes it’s hard to keep track of money, especially if the sums are small.
For years, the Bank of Canada has tried to get in touch with the owners of orphaned accounts, yet the dollar value of money left to linger has skyrocketed.
There is something like $1.1 billion in unclaimed bank accounts being tracked by the Unclaimed Properties Office (UPO) at the Bank of Canada.
Chilliwack resident Debbie Walker was made aware of the UPO after a post by this reporter on Facebook about a Dorothy Mae Smart of Chilliwack who has 19 unclaimed bank drafts each of which are under $100 in value, according to UPO records.
Walker took a look at the website and, lo and behold, she found some cash, if not exactly a windfall.
“I found one for me, turns out $283 and something,” Walker told The Progress. “From one of my business days in Vancouver.”
Despite the found money, it wasn’t easy to get.
“It took me an hour and a half to complete.”
She said the initial set up was quick and easy, but then there is a followup online application where you have to upload all your ID, sign numerous pages and then ensure all that you are submitting is accurate.
“That was the longest 300 bucks I ever had to earn,” she joked.
The UPO provides Canadians with information and tools to access unclaimed properties held by the Bank of Canada, according to the website.
That includes “unclaimed bank balances, Canada Savings Bonds and Government of Canada bonds, The Canada RSP and The Canada RIF.”
Back in 2017, the Bank of Canada reported there was about $678 million in unclaimed funds in bank accounts. Money is considered “unclaimed,” and transferred from provincial banks and trusts to the Bank of Canada, when a bank account has no owner activity for a period of 10 years and the owner can’t be contacted by the bank or trust company holding the money.
That number has now up to $1.1 billion and growing.
The oldest unclaimed account dates back to 1859.
Provincially, the B.C. Unclaimed Property Society also works to reunited British Columbians with $177 million in forgotten assets from this province. Every year, the society receives “dormant financial assets” from the courts, the Public Guardian and Trustee of British Columbia, credit unions, insurance companies, various levels of government, companies, and other organizations.
And while most are niggling sums, the largest individual unclaimed amount is $1.9 million.
They, too, have a searchable database where residents can check for unclaimed money.
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