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October 17, 2016 | Come ‘n Get It

A best-selling Canadian author of 14 books on economic trends, real estate, the financial crisis, personal finance strategies, taxation and politics. Nationally-known speaker and lecturer on macroeconomics, the housing market and investment techniques. He is a licensed Investment Advisor with a fee-based, no-commission Toronto-based practice serving clients across Canada.


One week and 23 years ago my ass was handed to me by the voters of my federal constituency. Not alone, of course. When the rightist knuckle-draggers of the Reform Party came along and calved the conservative vote, all of my fellow (moderate) PCs – save two – were creamed at the polls. Libs sprouted like mushrooms.

Ouch. Didn’t see that one coming. And here I was with a life and a nice house in Ottawa, as well as one back in the riding. One day a cabinet minister with a driver and a shiny black car with bulletproof glass. The next day, an unemployed dude with two properties. And no job.

So Dorothy and I listed the house (it took agonizing months to sell – eventually to Jean Chretien’s media flack), packed, left town and went looking for work. In the wake of this, we left a bank account, too, at the downtown Ottawa branch of the Bank of Montreal. Just a few bucks there, unloved and forlorn.

Yesterday blog dog Darrell thought of me when he came across a form on the Bank of Canada’s web site. “Happened to think of you and typed in your name,” he says. “And voila, seems you have some money sitting ..!! While the amount showing won’t get you too far Garth, it should at least provide some satisfaction. After all what is yours, IS yours.”

Here’s what Darrell found:


Thirty-three bucks. Sent to the central bank by BeeMo in 2004. How awesome is that? It makes you wonder how many other people have forgotten about little piles of money, and what’s happened to them? The answer is simple – after a decent period of time (ten years), and after your bank’s sent a few letters to the wrong address, the funds are transferred to the Bank of Canada, where they live in the geriatric ward for up to 100 years, or until somebody claims it.

This is now serious coin. The Bank of Canada alone is holding $626,000,000 in unclaimed funds – almost enough to buy a foreign student’s house on the Westside of Vancouver. Or purchase 89,000 used Kias. Or get that poor Kardashian woman’s ring back with enough left to send her to the space station, forever.

So the central bank hangs on to unclaimed balances of $1,000 or more for a century, and just 30 years for little ones like mine. If I don’t claim my $33.70 in the next seven years, it gets transferred to the Receiver General for Canada – the dude you pay your taxes to. If the money is from a joint bank account (like mine) then the wording on the account dictates who claims it. An account between two people joined by “and” means they split it, while the word “or” means either party can grab it.

It takes about three months to get your cash after you file a claim, and the process costs nothing (once you provide the correct docs). Nobody will ever contact you to inform you of the money outstanding, and after ten years in captivity, your account will no longer interest-bearing.

Claiming your funds is pretty simple. Just download a two-page form, take it to your old bank and have them validate your signature. Send it to the feds. Wait for your booty.

So, here is the search tool to see what amount of loot you’ve forgotten in your murky, sordid past.

Let’s have a contest. Who’s got the most outstanding? And who’s got the best story about why they abandoned that cash so many years ago.

The grand prize winner collects $33.70.

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October 17th, 2016

Posted In: The Greater Fool

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