BC government proclaims May 15th as Unclaimed Property Day, recognizing the BC Unclaimed Property Society’s 20th anniversary

May 12, 2023

We are proud to announce that the BC government has issued a proclamation designating May 15 as Unclaimed Property Day recognizing the BC Unclaimed Property Society’s 20th anniversary and the pivotal role our not-for-profit Society has played in reuniting British Columbians with their forgotten funds.

Since we were established in 2003 with the support of the Province of British Columbia and Vancouver Foundation, the Society has returned $21,585,433 in unclaimed funds to the rightful owners. Last year, we returned $1,734,807 from dormant accounts to verified claimants.

This month, we will finalize the largest unclaimed account payout in our 20-year history – a $1.98 million unclaimed account held by the courts related to litigation.

To mark our 20th anniversary, the Society recently rebranded as BC Unclaimed, which is a clearer, more consistent representation of our core business. We also launched an updated website that is simpler, more intuitive, and easier to use than before. The claims process has also been streamlined making it easier for claimants to be reunited with their missing money and for holders of dormant accounts to remit these financial assets to BC Unclaimed.

There are approximately $190 million in unclaimed funds in the province waiting to be reunited with the rightful owners, including a $1.9 million unclaimed estate – the largest unclaimed account in BC as at the end of 2022.

People can search to see if they have unclaimed funds waiting for them through our free, online database. We also actively search for the legitimate owners of forgotten money under our care and work with companies, organizations and government agencies to get dormant accounts off their books.

There was a 76 percent increase in public enquiries to our office last year from people looking for unclaimed money. With inflation driving consumer prices higher and household budgets being squeezed, numerous British Columbians are actively looking for missing financial assets to help them make ends meet such as searching for money sitting in a long-forgotten account.

Most unclaimed accounts in BC amount to $200 to $500, but last year we reunited one lucky individual with more than $240,000 from an unclaimed account.

BC Unclaimed receives dormant funds from provincially regulated organizations and companies operating in BC as well as government agencies that cannot trace the owners of inactive accounts. Last year, we received $12,518,140 from the courts, the Public Guardian and Trustee of British Columbia, credit unions, insurance companies, various levels of government, companies, and other organizations to be reunited with the rightful owners – a 207 percent increase over the previous year. The majority of these unclaimed accounts came from the courts related to foreclosures, civil litigation, debt actions and garnishments.

Under our philanthropic business model, BC Unclaimed donates a portion of unclaimed funds each year to Vancouver Foundation to support community and social programs across the province. Last year, we donated $4.175 million to Vancouver Foundation, which uses these funds to address priority areas with the greatest social impact, such as combatting the opioid crisis, addressing poverty and homelessness and helping refugees adapt to Canadian society. British Columbia is the only jurisdiction in North America that has designated a not-for-profit society to manage its unclaimed property program where a portion of inactive funds are set aside each year for charitable purposes.

Image of Province of British Columbia proclamation declaring May 15, 2023 as Unclaimed Property Day

The province of British Columbia's proclamation declaring May 15, 2023 as Unclaimed Property Day

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