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Published August 1, 2023
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Unclaimed Property in Canada: How to Recover Lost Money

Use federal and provincial databases to track down any missing or forgotten funds.

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You probably think you know how much money you have. But if the Bank of Canada’s over 1.8 billion dollars of unclaimed property is any indicator, that might not be the case. As of 2022, the bank had 2.5 million untouched accounts. The massive forgotten treasure includes both bank balances and estates, with the oldest property dating back to the mid-1800s. 

Fortunately, the bank has a handy search tool to check if any of the unclaimed property is yours. Depending on where you live, your province may also have a registry you can check.

Here’s what to know about unclaimed property and how to find out if you have any:

What is unclaimed property in Canada?

Unclaimed property includes chequing accounts, estates, credit balances and various other types of funds that are managed by a federally regulated financial institution (i.e. a bank) but have gone untouched for 10 years or more. When accounts are inactive for that long, the bank transfers the funds to the Bank of Canada, operated by the federal government, to be overseen. Banks are required to try to get in touch with account owners before transferring the money. 

Once the money goes to the Bank of Canada, accounts of less than $1,000 are held for a maximum of 30 years. Accounts of more than $1,000 are held for 100 years. 

As of last year, the Bank of Canada had nearly two billion dollars worth of unclaimed property. The amount has grown year over year, despite best efforts by both individual banks and the government to find owners. 

How to find unclaimed property

Wondering if any of Canada’s unclaimed property is yours? There are two ways to search: federally and provincially.

Search the federal database

The Bank of Canada has a very helpful tool you can use ( to find out if you have any unclaimed money. You’ll only need to enter your name, city and province. There’s no fee to search for lost funds. However, if you do have unclaimed property, you’ll be responsible for any charges incurred to return the money to you.

It’s important to also note that the database doesn’t work for certain financial instruments, such as savings bonds and registered retirement savings plans.

Search by province

The following Canadian provinces have their own searchable databases you can use in addition to the federal one:

  • Alberta. Alberta has its own databases and forms to fill out if you think you have unclaimed property. The following page will tell you how to search and what steps to follow if you find anything:
  • British Columbia. Residents of British Columbia can visit the BC Unclaimed Property Program website to see if they have any unclaimed property in the province: The BC Unclaimed Property Program is actively trying to find rightful owners and may send you a letter inquiring as to whether you are an account holder. If you are unsure of the authenticity of a letter, you can call 778-698-5410 to assess its validity.
  • New Brunswick. New Brunswick’s unclaimed property registry is called Funds Finder and is new as of 2023. You can find it here: All you need to do is search your name online. If you find something, they will walk you through how to claim the funds. You can also check on the status of your claim.
  • Quebec. Quebec has its own register of unclaimed property. Go to and click the Find Unclaimed Property button on the right-hand side of the screen. Note that if the amount of fees, which includes any applicable taxes, exceeds the net value of the property, it will not be listed in the registry.

The provinces below do not have databases. If you reside in one of these areas, you should rely solely on the Bank of Canada search tool:

  • Manitoba.
  • Newfoundland and Labrador.
  • Nova Scotia.
  • Ontario.
  • Prince Edward Island.
  • Saskatchewan.

How to prevent your cash from getting lost in the first place

As previously stated, property can only be considered unclaimed if the account holder is inactive for 10 years. The bank is also legally required to send out notifications about inactivity starting at the two-year mark. So, to ensure your money doesn’t become unclaimed property, keep track of your finances, make sure you interact with your accounts (at least periodically) and don’t ignore any mail from your bank.

It’s also helpful to designate beneficiaries on all of your financial accounts. That way, if you were to pass away with a positive bank balance, your funds would go to someone of your choice.

Frequently asked questions about unclaimed property

Is unclaimed property a trap?

Unclaimed property is very real. However, scammers have also been known to use the promise of unclaimed money as a way to extort their victims. To avoid this scam, keep in mind that no legitimate financial organization will ever ask for your personal banking information before verifying a claim. If you get a call or letter and are unsure of its authenticity, call your bank, your provincial registry or the Bank of Canada. 

Where can I search for unclaimed property in Ontario?

Ontario does not have an unclaimed property registry at this time. If you live in Ontario and would like to check if you have unclaimed accounts, use the Bank of Canada website to do a search. 


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