Canada’s own sunken treasure

A ship missing for 310 years was found off the coast of Colombia in the Gulf of Mexico  this past week carrying gold and jewels worth $17 US billion. It’s been called the “Holy Grail” of sunken treasures.

That’s all really exciting but the recovery will be difficult and already a bitter battle has arisen over what may be the world’s largest sunken treasure between Columbia, Spain and a US salvage company. The Columbian government is currently treating the wreck as a state secret to avoid further plundering.

While it’s hardly a State secret, sunken treasure in Canada does exist in the form of unclaimed property or unclaimed financial assets owned by hard-working Canadians. Yet, it’s barely easier to find and doesn’t get barely the attention it deserves.

There’s a Billion dollars in unclaimed property in the Bank of Canada between lost bank accounts and matured/unclaimed Canada Savings Bonds and no one is looking for the legal owners of that treasure despite the information naturally at the disposal of such a worthy crown corporation as the Bank of Canada.  While there’s a listing that is updated annually on the Bank of Canada website for unclaimed bank accounts, take note that those bank accounts are only accounts that have had no activity for 10 years and don’t include accounts in foreign currency.

More unfortunately, very sadly and for some unknown reason, no listing of owners exists for the $500+ Million in Unclaimed Canada Savings bonds.  Whereas the same can not be said for unclaimed bank accounts, Canada Savings Bonds can only be registered by individuals living in Canada so the entirety of this sunken treasure belongs to Canadian individuals and families.  It certainly seems “UnCanadian” for the Bank of Canada to 1) not look for those individuals considering that they have their SIN numbers at hand 2) allow Canadians to more easily find their hard-earned savings bonds.

There’s a multitude of other forms of unclaimed financial assets in Canada that make up sunken treasure in Canada. The estimated total of unclaimed financial assets in Canada total $6 Billion plus. That treasure is more difficult to find outside of the provinces of Alberta and Quebec where unclaimed property legislation actually exists (BC has voluntary unclaimed property legislation).

Generally, Canada is woefully behind in ensuring that consumer protection in the form of Unclaimed Property Legislation exists for all Canadians. The US and other countries around the world have had such legislation in place for 50+ years You can find a partial list of some of the other sunken treasure in Canada on our website as well as some of the places you can search http://legacytracker.com/facts/unclaimed-in-canada/

 Good Luck