We provide answers to frequently asked questions on the following topics:
The Board of Directors must ensure that the Bank is managed competently. The Board is responsible for reviewing the Bank's general policies on matters other than monetary policy and for approving the Bank's corporate objectives, plans and annual budget. The Board of Directors includes the Governor, the Senior Deputy Governor, twelve outside directors and the Deputy Minister of Finance (who has no vote). Monetary policy is neither formulated nor implemented by the outside directors. In this area, the directors' job is to keep the Bank informed about prevailing economic conditions in their respective regions.
The directors are also responsible for appointing the Governor and Senior Deputy Governor.
The Governor is appointed for a fixed term of seven years.
If a profound disagreement on the conduct of monetary policy were to occur, the Minister of Finance, with the Cabinet's authorization, can issue a written directive to the Governor specifying a change in policy. No directive has ever been issued.
The inflation-control target — one of the two cornerstones of Canada's monetary policy — is set jointly by the Bank and federal government. However, the day-to-day administration of monetary policy is the responsibility of the Bank's Governing Council, composed of the Governor, Senior Deputy Governor, and Deputy Governors.
The Bank of Canada Act requires regular consultations between the Governor and the Minister of Finance on the direction of monetary policy. If a profound disagreement were to occur between the Bank and the government, the Minister of Finance could issue a written directive to the Governor specifying a change in policy. This would most likely result in the Governor's resignation. However, such a directive has never been issued.
Monetary policy refers to the measures taken by the Bank of Canada to influence the economy by regulating the amount of money in circulation.
Fiscal policy (budgetary policy) refers to the measures taken by the government to increase or decrease public spending and taxes.
Because doing so would reduce the value of our money, raise interest rates, and undermine the growth of the economy — the exact opposite of our goals.
If the Bank were to print money to repay the national debt or to finance government programs, it would be adding greatly to the amount of money in circulation. This would encourage people to spend and borrow more, and the economy would receive a temporary boost. But overall demand for goods and services would grow faster than the economy's ability to produce, and this would inevitably lead to higher inflation.
The Bank has refined the way it conducts monetary policy over the years. In 1994, it established an operating band for the overnight rate, and in 1996 it changed the way it sets the Bank Rate.
The Bank Rate is now set at the top of the operating band. It is always one-quarter of a percentage point above the Target for the Overnight Rate, which is at the middle of the band. The Bank Rate is also the rate at which the Bank will lend money overnight to the financial institutions that take part in Canada's most important payments system, the Large Value Transfer System.
The bottom of the operating band is the interest rate the Bank pays on deposits that financial institutions have with us.
Under normal conditions, the Bank changes the Target for the Overnight Rate, the operating band, and the Bank Rate at the same time, and by the same amount (the diagram below shows how they relate to each other). Note, however, that when the Bank sets the target for the overnight rate at its lowest possible level of 0.25 per cent - the effective lower bound - the band is only one-quarter of a percentage point wide (0.25 to 0.50 per cent). In this case, the Target for the Overnight Rate is the bottom of the band, rather than the midpoint, and is the same as the deposit rate (0.25 per cent).
The target is the appropriate rate to use when comparing the levels of interest rates with those of other countries. It corresponds directly to the U.S. Federal Reserve's "target for the federal funds rate," the Bank of England's two-week "repo rate," and the minimum bid rate for refinancing operations (the repo rate) at the European Central Bank.
Quantitative easing is the purchase by a central bank of financial assets through creation of central bank reserves. As a result, the price of the purchased assets (which can include government securities or private assets) rises and the yield on the assets falls. The expansion of reserves available to commercial banks also encourages them to increase the supply of credit to households and businesses.
In economic terminology, quantitative easing uses 'unsterilized' funding; in other words, the reserves of the central bank are increased to finance asset purchases.
Credit easing is the targeted purchase by a central bank of private sector assets in certain credit markets which are important to the functioning of the financial system. The goal of credit easing is to reduce risk premiums and improve liquidity and trading activity in specific markets so that credit will flow and demand in the economy will expand.
Credit easing can be done on a 'sterilized' basis; in other words, there is no need to increase central bank reserves in order to undertake credit easing. If undertaken on an unsterilized basis, this amounts to combining credit easing with quantitative easing.
Unclaimed bank balances held at the Bank of Canada are exclusively Canadian-dollar deposits in, and negotiable instruments issued by, Canadian banks at locations in Canada.
They can be:
Unclaimed bank balances are maintained by the Bank of Canada, which acts as custodian on behalf of the owner, when there has been no owner activity in relation to the account for a period of 10 years.
What is not included in the Bank of Canada's unclaimed balances:
Other organizations hold unclaimed property and may be able to help find assets:
Follow our instructions.
You must follow the process described in the “How to Claim” section. The financial institution where the account was held will provide the Bank of Canada with the information necessary, if available, to establish the holder’s identity. If the institution does not have the information required, it will inform the Bank of Canada, which will advise you of the next step. (If the branch returns the form to you, simply forward it to the Bank using the address indicated on the form.)
You may need additional documents proving your identity and connecting you with the account. Please see the “How to Claim” section for more information on the required documentation.
Once you identify an unclaimed balance to which you believe you are entitled, complete the form "Submit your Contact Details" available on this site and follow the instructions carefully.
After we receive your completed form, we will contact you if we need additional information. Once we receive all required documentation and have established ownership, we will pay the claim.
We generally process and pay claims within 30 to 60 days from receipt of a claim. Some claims involving estates may take longer.
Yes, the unclaimed balance service, whether it is searching our database or making a claim, is completely free.
However, you may have to incur legal fees, notarial or other fees to provide us with legal evidence that you are entitled to claimed funds.
The Bank of Canada only contacts account owners once it receives a claim request. We do not initiate contact with account owners to notify them of an unclaimed balance. Unclaimed balance searches and claims can be initiated with the Bank of Canada by the rightful owner, without fee.
There are firms that use publicly available information to find account owners and assist them in making a claim. Some of these firms may offer this service for a fee. The Bank of Canada does not endorse any of these firms, nor do we have any business relationship with them.
If you have been received unsolicited correspondence from someone purporting to be from the Bank of Canada:
For further information, see: http://www.bankofcanada.ca/bank-of-canada-warns-of-email-scams/
Accounts and instruments are transferred to the Bank on the 31 December following the 10th anniversary of inactivity. Until the account is transferred to the Bank of Canada, it remains with the institution where the account originated.
For example, an account that was inactive for 10 years on 23 February 2012 would be transferred to the Bank of Canada on 31 December 2012. In this example, the institution where the account originated remains responsible for returning the funds to the rightful owner during the 2012 calendar year. (In practice, however, the transition process can start as early as October of the 10th year and accounts may become unavailable for the few weeks it takes for the transfer to be completed.)
If your bank branch cannot help you in accessing your account, contact the financial institution’s head office.
The Bank of Canada maintains custody of all balances of $1,000 or more for 100 years at the Bank of Canada after the 10-year inactivity period at the original bank. Unclaimed balances under $1,000 are retained for thirty years after the 10-year period. Balances must be claimed before the period in Bank of Canada custody ends.
If the balance remains unclaimed until the end of the prescribed custody period, the Bank of Canada transfers the funds to the Receiver General for Canada.
The Bank of Canada makes information available to the public without charge:
A request for a search must include the full name of the individual, the addresses for past residences, and the year of death if the individual is deceased.
The full list of unclaimed balances may also be purchased on a CD-ROM (raw data only) for $72 plus GST and PST plus $3 for shipping. Send your request and money order or certified cheque to the Bank of Canada at the above address.
The Bank of Canada pays 1.5% on balances that were held in savings accounts for the first 10 years of custody. All other accounts and instruments receive no interest.
No. The Bank of Canada is not a commercial institution. It does not provide regular banking services, nor does it accept deposits from the general public. Its clientele are the federal government, other central banks, commercial banks and certain other financial institutions.
For information on commercial banks in Canada, see the Canadian Bankers Association.
The Bank of Canada was created to be the sole issuer of bank notes and to facilitate management of the country's financial system.
Having an independent monetary institution allows for the separation of the power to spend money from the power to create money.
Separating the central bank from the political process enables it to adopt the medium- and long-term perspectives essential to conducting effective monetary policy.
The Bank of Canada is responsible for:
The revenues generated by the Bank each year greatly exceed its operating expenses.
The revenues derive from the Bank of Canada's role as the issuer of bank notes to Canada's financial institutions. Institutions pay the Bank when they withdraw bank notes from it. The Bank then invests these funds in government bonds and treasury bills. The interest earned on these investments is the Bank's main source of revenue.
The difference between the interest the Bank earns and its operating expenses is its net profit, which is given to the federal government. In recent years this profit has averaged about $1.7 billion annually.
This process, whereby a central bank earns revenue in exchange for its role as the issuer of a country's currency, is called seigniorage.