New Brunswick’s annual reporting period for unclaimed property is underway, and businesses and other organizations holding unclaimed funds have until March 31st to report them to the province’s Unclaimed Property Program. 

The program, administered by the Financial and Consumer Services Commission, aims to reunite New Brunswickers with their forgotten money, such as credit balances, overpayments, security deposits, life insurance benefits, and credit union accounts. 

According to Erin Toole, Director of the Unclaimed Property Program, the program received more than $30 million in unclaimed property from 194 holders in 2023, its first year of reporting. 

“With increased awareness of the program, we are anticipating more holders to report this year. Any kind of business or entity could be holding unclaimed property, and it is important that business owners understand what’s required of them with respect to unclaimed property reporting,” Toole said in a press release.

The Unclaimed Property Act came into effect in 2022, making New Brunswick the third province in Canada to have such legislation, after Alberta and British Columbia. 

Under the Act, holders of unclaimed monetary property are required to review their books and attempt to locate owners to return the money or re-establish an active relationship with them. If the apparent owner does not respond to contact from the holder, the property must be reported to the Unclaimed Property Program. 

The Commission launched last year, a free online database that allows New Brunswickers to search for unclaimed property in their name. Toole said that the Commission provides several resources on its website to help holders understand their responsibilities and what to do if they find unclaimed funds, including a webinar recorded last month.

Toole also recommended that businesses work with their lawyers or accountants to understand what to look for when reviewing their books. 

“It’s money that could be yours. Every year, thousands of dollars go unclaimed in New Brunswick, forgotten in credit union accounts, uncashed cheques, security deposits, and more. We work with businesses and government entities to return unclaimed property to its rightful owner,” Toole said. 

According to the Commission, unclaimed property can result from lack of communication between businesses and government agencies and owners, such as changes of address, name changes, death of an owner, or errors in records.

For more information about the Unclaimed Property Program, visit here.

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