Unclaimed bank balances
If you don’t use certain financial products for 10 years, federally regulated financial institutions will consider the money in them to be unclaimed. They must transfer unclaimed balances to the Bank of Canada.
This only applies to products that hold Canadian money. Foreign currency products, such as U.S dollar savings accounts, don’t have to be transferred to the Bank of Canada. Check with your financial institution for information on how to get unclaimed money in a foreign currency.
How to find out if you have an unclaimed balance
Your financial institution must try to contact you in writing before transferring a product with an unclaimed balance to the Bank of Canada. The institution will try to contact you at the last address it has on file after the following times have gone by:
- after 2 years of inactivity
- after 5 years of inactivity
- after 9 years of inactivity
Notices will be sent in January after each period of inactivity mentioned above. For example, if you have a bank account that has been unused for 2 years as of July, then your first notice will be sent in January of the following year.
The notice you receive after 9 years of inactivity will let you know that your balance will be transferred to the Bank of Canada in January of the next year if you don’t contact your financial institution or use the product by the end of the year. This notice will also tell you how to claim the balance once it is transferred.
The Bank of Canada will hold unclaimed balances of less than $1,000 for 30 years. It will hold unclaimed balances of $1,000 or more for 100 years.
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