Unclaimed property legislation
BC’s unclaimed property program is governed by the Unclaimed Property Act. The purpose of this legislation is to reunite owners with unclaimed property held by government and non-government holders.
The Act says that the government can enter into an agreement with a non-profit organization to manage the program. The Province of British Columbia appointed BC Unclaimed as the administrator of BC’s unclaimed property program starting in 2003.
The Unclaimed Property Act specifies what responsibilities the administrator has, how unclaimed property can be used, and who must submit unclaimed property to the administrator.
The Unclaimed Property Regulations lay out specific details such as how long it takes for different types of property to become unclaimed and how different amounts of unclaimed money must be treated.
The Unclaimed Property Act sets out which organizations are required to transfer unclaimed property to BC Unclaimed, and which organizations can choose whether or not to transfer property to BC Unclaimed. These are called Mandatory holders and Voluntary holders.
Mandatory holders: Holders required by law to transfer unclaimed property to BC Unclaimed.
Examples: Municipal and provincial courts, credit unions, and real estate agencies.
Voluntary holders: Holders not required by law to transfer unclaimed property to BC Unclaimed. These holders should still transfer unclaimed property to BC Unclaimed so that it can be claimed by its rightful owners.
Examples: Trust funds, insurance policies, brokerage accounts, closed pension plans, other organizations.
BC Unclaimed is required to follow the standards in the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPPA). This Act contains rules about how public bodies like BC Unclaimed can collect, use and disclose personal information.