Frequently Asked Questions
We provide answers to frequently asked questions on the following topics:
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 Canadian-dollar accounts, deposits and negotiable instruments issued by federally regulated banks or trust companies.
The types of balances can be:
The types of unclaimed balances not held by the Bank include:
For these balances, please consult your financial institution or investment dealer for more information on how to retrieve them.
Also, it’s important to note that other organizations hold unclaimed property and may be able to help find assets:
When claiming a balance that was a negotiable instrument, the claimant must be the original drawer or purchaser of the instrument. Otherwise, in the case of a payee/beneficiary, one must be able to provide the original instrument.
You may submit a claim to the Bank of Canada requesting a return of the balance funds. Please see the How to Claim section for more details on the claim process.
Yes, you can. Please see the How to Claim section for more details on the estate claim process.
If an unclaimed balance is held by two or more names joined by “or,” then it may be claimed in its entirety by any of the balance holders or by the estates of any deceased balance holders, if applicable.
If an unclaimed balance is held by two or more names joined by “and,” then entitlement to the balance will be split equally between the living holders and the estates of any deceased balance holders, if applicable.
The Bank of Canada will accept certified copies of any official or legal documents required as evidence to support a claim. Please note that documents sent to the Bank will not be returned to the claimant.
Yes. You will need additional documents proving your identity and connecting you with the balance. Please see the How to Claim section for more information on the required documentation.
Due to the high volume of inquiries and claims we receive, our current response time is about ten to twelve weeks. Depending on their complexity, some claims may take longer.
All claims and requests for information, whether sent by email, fax or regular mail, are processed in the order they are received.
There is no cost for searching for balances or for submitting claims to the Bank of Canada. However, you may incur other fees in order to obtain and send us the necessary legal evidence to prove your entitlement.
No, the Bank of Canada does not initiate contact with balance holders to notify them of unclaimed balances. The Bank only contacts a claimant once it has received a claim request.
There are firms that use publicly available information to find balance holders 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 does it have any business relationship with them.
The Bank of Canada maintains custody of balances of $1,000 or more for 100 years, while balances under $1,000 are held for 30 years.
If a balance remains unclaimed at the end of the prescribed custody period, the Bank of Canada transfers the funds to the Receiver General for Canada. Once the transfer is made, the funds can no longer be retrieved.
According to the Bank Act, federally regulated banks and trust companies have a legal obligation to send written notification after two (2), five (5) and nine (9) years of inactivity. Balance holders should respond to this communication so that the balance will not to be transferred to the Bank of Canada as an “unclaimed balance.”
For all balances over $2.00, the Bank of Canada provides public access to unclaimed balance information on this website, free of charge.
You may also send a request for balance information to us by any of the following:
Unclaimed Balances Services
Bank of Canada
234 Laurier Avenue West
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0G9
A request for a search must include the full name of the balance holder, the postal address associated with the balance and, if applicable, the year of death of the balance holder. As well, if the claimant is different than the balance holder, he or she should provide his or her full name and mailing address.
The full list of unclaimed balances may also be purchased on a CD-ROM (raw data only) for Can$85 (price includes applicable tax and shipping). Please send your request and payment in the form of a money order or certified cheque payable to the Bank of Canada. Please refer to the Contact Us section to obtain the mailing address.
The Bank of Canada pays interest for the first ten (10) years of custody on balances that were held in interest-bearing savings accounts prior to their transfer to the Bank. All other deposits and instruments earn 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.