Reuniting New Brunswickers with their unclaimed property is one step closer with the provincial government’s proclamation on January 1 of the Unclaimed Property Act.
The proclamation means holders of unclaimed property — like businesses, associations and government organizations — are now required to review their books to search for monetary property that belongs to someone else. They will need to attempt to locate the owners and, if unsuccessful, to report and deliver the money to New Brunswick’s Unclaimed Property Program, beginning in 2023.
The Financial and Consumer Services Commission (FCNB), which will administer the program, estimates thousands of dollars go unclaimed every year in the province, forgotten in credit union accounts, uncashed cheques, security deposits, and more. Last year, for example, the British Columbia Unclaimed Property Society returned approximately $1.7 million to claimants.
“Both New Brunswickers and businesses will benefit from this program,” said Andrew Nicholson, director of the Commission’s Unclaimed Property Program. “New Brunswickers will gain by having money that rightfully belongs to them returned, and businesses will benefit from being relieved of the expense and liability of carrying the property on their books.”
The Act requires holders to determine if property held will become unclaimed property at the end of this calendar year as well as the five preceding years: 2017 to 2021. For monetary property to be considered unclaimed, it typically means a company hasn’t been in contact with the owner in the last three years.
“Businesses need to prepare this year for that first filing period,” Nicholson said. “They will need to review their books, identify unclaimed property and make an attempt to contact the rightful owners.”
If they are unsuccessful in contacting rightful owners, businesses will need to start to report and deliver unclaimed property during the program’s first filing period: January 1 to March 31, 2023. Reporting will be done through the program’s online portal at FundsFinderNB.ca. Businesses can find more helpful information and resources both on our website at fcnb.ca and through FundsFinderNB.ca.
“We have information such as answers to frequently asked questions, additional quick guides, templates, and step-by-step filing guidelines,” Nicholson said.
Following the first reporting period in 2023, the Commission anticipates New Brunswickers will be able to search and claim their unclaimed property for free on the online portal. In the meantime, New Brunswickers can visit FCNB.ca to learn tips to prevent their money from becoming unclaimed and track down any lost or forgotten monetary property.
Audio files of Andrew Nicholson, FCNB’s Director of Unclaimed Property:
FCNB has the mandate to protect consumers and enhance public confidence in the financial and consumer marketplace through the provision of regulatory and educational services. It is responsible for the administration and enforcement of provincial legislation regulating mortgage brokers, payday lenders, real estate, securities, insurance, pensions, credit unions, trust and loan companies, cooperatives, and a wide range of other consumer legislation. It is an independent Crown corporation funded by the regulatory fees and assessments paid by the regulated sectors. Online educational tools and resources are available at www.fcnb.ca