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Unclaimed Property  and Bank of Canada Dormant Accounts

Canadian banks have a legal obligation to attempt written notification of account owners after the second and fifth year of inactivity. In addition, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) publishes owner names of all unclaimed balances worth $10 or more in the year prior to the transfer to Bank of Canada (i.e. the 9th year of inactivity). Publication is made in the Canada Gazette, available at all public libraries.

Bank of Canada acts as custodian when there has been no account activity for a ten year period and the owner cannot be contacted. Accounts worth $500 or more are held indefinitely until claimed. Interest is paid at the rate of 1.5% per annum for a ten-year period.

Balances under $500 dollars are retained for 20 years - 10 years from the date of the last owner transaction at the bank, with an additional 10-year custody period at Bank of Canada. Written claims must be received no later than December 31 of an accounts "last year" - 20 years after the year of the last transaction.

At year-end 1998, there were 770,000 unclaimed accounts worth $132 million. 88% were under $500, representing a third of the total value outstanding. The oldest account dates back to 1900.

To search the database visit Bank of Canada's website: or contact the Dormant Account Section at:

Unclaimed Balances Services
Bank of Canada
 234 Wellington
Ottawa, ON K1A 0G9
(888) 891-6398 / (613) 782-7802 [fax]

Revenue Canada is holding an estimated $8 million in unclaimed tax refunds since 1990. There is no time limit on claims, but no interest is paid on amounts refunded. Privacy legislation prevents publication of owner names. Citizens should contact their local tax office for additional information.

Unclaimed asset practices with regard to items other than bank accounts and tax refunds vary by province. Some programs are still in the developmental stage.

In British Columbia the Ministry of Finance and Corporate Relations administers the province's recently revised Unclaimed Property Act.

The Unclaimed Property Office maintains a searchable database at:

For additional information or assistance contact:

BC Unclaimed Property Society
Box 12136, Harbour Centre
555 West Hastings Street
Vancouver, BC V6B 4N6

Phone: 604.662.3518
Toll Free: 1.888.662.2877
Fax: 604.669.2079

In In June 2008, Alberta passed the Unclaimed Personal Property and Vested Property Act and Regulation. Both came into force on September 1, 2008.

Search the Alberta Unclaimed Property database at:

For additional information or assistance contact:

Tax and Revenue Administration
Alberta Finance and Enterprise
9811 - 109 Street
Edmonton, AB T5K 2L5
For toll free service in Alberta, call 310-0000; then enter 780-427-3044

In Quebec the Minister of Revenue maintains a searchable Register of Unclaimed Property at:

For additional information or assistance contact:

Direction principale des biens non réclamés
Revenu Québec
500, boulevard René-Lévesque Ouest, bureau 10.00
Montréal (Québec) H2Z 1W7
1 866 840-6939

For inquiries about a dissolved corporation, provide any of the following if available: corporation name, date of incorporation, corporation number and a description of any assets apparently owned by the dissolved corporation.

For inquiries about an estate, provide the full name of the deceased, with date of death if available, and any other family information which could show your connection to the deceased. This office will supply information about an estate only to those persons who can demonstrate a blood relation to the deceased. For further information on to documentation required to claim a share of an estate administered by the PG., please see "How to prove you are an heir" at

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