Unclaimed money? Province looks to reunite you with your forgotten funds
New Brunswick is the fourth province to introduce a program to connect people with money they forgot to claim
The provincial government is introducing a new program to help people collect money they may have forgotten about.
The proposed Unclaimed Property Act would create an online database that can be used to return unclaimed assets to their rightful owner.
Likely sources of unclaimed property include credit union deposits, rental deposits, utility deposits and unclaimed life insurance benefits.
Money can go unclaimed when a relative dies, when someone moves or when someone switches jobs and forgets to pick up their last paycheque, said Rick Hancox, CEO of the Financial and Consumer Services Commission.
Money just sitting there
"For example, you used to rent an apartment 10 years ago," Hancox said. "You paid your damage deposit and you moved on … but you forgot to collect it, and so it's sitting there and it's yours."
Real estate, vehicles or money in forgotten accounts at a federally chartered bank will not be included in the program.
Hancox said there's about $5 billion worth of unclaimed money across Canada.
Alix Saulnier, spokesperson for the Financial and Consumer Services Commission, said in an email to CBC News that it's hard to estimate how much money is unclaimed around New Brunswick because it hasn't been tracked until now.
Once the commission develops an inventory of unclaimed assets, it will launch a website people can search, for free, to find out if they have any missing cash.
If you search the website for your unclaimed assets and see money that belongs to you, you can file a claim with the commission. Once the commission establishes the money is yours, it will be returned to you.
If the owner of the money can't be found, the assets will stay in the account until it's claimed, Hancox said.
If the proposed act is implemented, assets will be considered unclaimed after three years with no activity. For credit unions, however, property will be considered unclaimed after 10 years.
The legislation was introduced in the legislature on Thursday.
If it passes, Hancox said the program is likely to launch in January 2021. After that, companies would have a year to collect and file missing assets with the government. Hancox suspects people would be able to apply for their missing assets by January 2022.
Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia already have similar programs in place.
With files from Shift