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Unclaimed Bank Accounts

At the beginning of this year there were close to 800,000 unclaimed bank accounts worth an estimated $130 million in Canada. The oldest account was found to date back to the 1900ís.

After the second and fifth year of inactivity, Canadian banks are now legally obliged to attempt to trace the account owners. The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) also publishes in the Canada Gazette the names of account owners of all unclaimed balances above $9, in their ninth year of inactivity before the account is transferred to the Bank of Canada in the tenth year.

The Bank of Canada acts as custodian for these accounts and those with balances worth $500 or more are held indefinitely until claimed.

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

To search the database of unclaimed accounts visit the Bank of Canada  or write to the Unclaimed Balances Services, Bank of Canada, 234 Wellington, Ottawa, ON, K1A 0G9. Tel (888) 891-6398.