Unclaimed Bank Accounts in Canada

How to Find and Claim Money From Dormant Bank Accounts in Canada

Bank of Canada in Ottawa
Bank of Canada in Ottawa. © Flickr users Sandra Cohen-Rose and Colin Rose

The Bank of Canada is holding millions of dollars from dormant Canadian bank accounts, and they will return the money to its rightful owners free of charge. The Bank of Canada provides an online search tool and detailed instructions on how to claim money that is yours.

Dormant Bank Accounts in Canada

Dormant bank accounts are accounts that have no owner activity in relation to the account. Canadian banks are required by law to send written notification to the owner of a dormant bank account after two years, five years and nine years of inactivity.

After 10 years of inactivity, unclaimed balances of all amounts are transferred to the Bank of Canada.

Unclaimed Balances Held by the Bank of Canada

Unclaimed balances held by the Bank of Canada are Canadian dollar deposits in Canadian banks at locations in Canada and negotiable instruments issued by Canadian banks at locations in Canada. This includes bank drafts, certified cheques, money orders and traveler cheques.

Length of Time Bank Balances are Held

The Bank of Canada holds unclaimed balances of less than $1,000 for 30 years, once they have been inactive for ten years at the financial institutions. Balances of $1,000 or more will be held for 100 years once they are transferred to the Bank of Canada.

If the balance remains unclaimed until the end of the prescribed custody period, the Bank of Canada will transfer the funds to the Receiver General for Canada.

Search for Unclaimed Bank Balances

The Bank of Canada provides a free online Unclaimed Balances Search database for unclaimed bank balances.

How to Claim Funds

To claim funds from the Bank of Canada, you must:

  • complete a claim form.
  • submit it with the appropriate signatures and documentation required to prove your identity and ownership of the funds.

To submit a claim:

  • Locate the accounts you wish to claim in the Bank of Canada Unclaimed Balances Search database.
  • Click on the account, and then click on the claim form link. If there is no claim form link, click on the contact us link.

It normally takes from 30 to 60 days to process a claim, although there may be delays due to the volume of requests the Bank of Canada receives or the complexity of the claim. You may also be contacted for further documents showing ownership.

The Bank of Canada provides on their website detailed instructions on how to make a claim, including information their contact address. You might also find the Frequently Asked Questions on Unclaimed Balances useful.

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Munroe, Susan. "Unclaimed Bank Accounts in Canada." ThoughtCo, Feb. 5, 2017, thoughtco.com/unclaimed-bank-accounts-in-canada-508491. Munroe, Susan. (2017, February 5). Unclaimed Bank Accounts in Canada. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/unclaimed-bank-accounts-in-canada-508491 Munroe, Susan. "Unclaimed Bank Accounts in Canada." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/unclaimed-bank-accounts-in-canada-508491 (accessed November 22, 2017).