Order Fixing June 30, 2023 as the Day on Which Certain Provisions of the Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1 Come into Force: SI/2023-22
Canada Gazette, Part II, Volume 157, Number 14
SI/2023-22 July 5, 2023
BUDGET IMPLEMENTATION ACT, 2021, NO. 1
Order Fixing June 30, 2023 as the Day on Which Certain Provisions of the Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1 Come into Force
P.C. 2023-663 June 23, 2023
Her Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Finance, under subsection 150(1) of the Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1, chapter 23 of the Statutes of Canada, 2021, fixes June 30, 2023 as the day on which sections 140 and 143 to 148 of that Act come into force.
(This note is not part of the Order.)
This Order in Council, pursuant to subsection 150(1) of the Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1, chapter 23 of the Statutes of Canada, 2021, fixes June 30, 2023, as the day on which sections 140 and 143 to 148 of that Act come into force. These provisions update and expand the unclaimed asset regime by mandating electronic communication with asset owners by financial institutions, increasing the information provided by financial institutions to the Bank of Canada, and adding foreign denominated assets to those subject to the regime by amending the Bank Act and the Trust and Loan Companies Act. The provisions also provide the Bank of Canada an explicit power to publish information to aid searching for assets by amending the Bank of Canada Act.
The objective of this Order is to bring into force legislative amendments that update the unclaimed asset regime by expanding it to include foreign denominated assets and making it easier for owners of unclaimed assets to become aware of their accounts and claim them.
Unclaimed assets are deposits and certain instruments held in accounts by federally regulated financial institutions that have been inactive. This means there has been no contact with the owner or activity on the account for ten years. At the end of the ten-year period, these assets are transferred to the Bank of Canada, which acts as the federal custodian for all unclaimed assets originally held by federally regulated banks, trust and loan companies.
The Government introduced in Budget Implementation Act 2021, No. 1 legislative amendments to update the unclaimed asset regime. These changes did not come into force upon royal assent to allow time to align with financial institution and Bank of Canada asset transfer practices and provide time to prepare for these changes. The amendments require Governor in Council approval to come into force.
The following Acts will be amended:
- the Bank of Canada Act to create an explicit authority for the Bank of Canada to publish unclaimed asset information online. The objective is to allow Canadians to find and reclaim their lost money more easily;
- the Trust and Loan Companies Act and the Bank Act to (1) expand the definition of unclaimed assets to include foreign denominated deposits and instruments; (2) require financial institutions to notify asset owners by electronic means (such as email) in addition to mail; (3) require financial institutions to disclose more information to the Bank of Canada, namely social insurance number and date of birth to facilitate the validation of claims.
These amendments will require that financial institutions transfer assets now subject to the regime (namely foreign denominated deposits), along with social insurance numbers and dates of birth for asset owners by December 31, 2023, to the Bank of Canada. Financial institutions will also have to supply the Bank of Canada with the signatures of asset owners. Foreign denominated deposits will have to be converted to Canadian Dollars before transfer to the Bank of Canada. By including the transfer of foreign denominated assets to the regime, the regime will protect more assets owned by Canadians and relieve financial institutions from having to indefinitely hold these unclaimed assets.
The requirement for electronic notification to asset owners by financial institutions will apply to the notifications sent beginning in January 2024. The Bank of Canada will immediately upon coming into force be explicitly authorized to publish unclaimed asset information online. Such modernizations of the regime will make it easier for Canadians to recover their assets through the use of more communication methods and the provision of additional information.
Finance Canada released consultation papers as part of its legislative process on changes to the unclaimed asset regime in 2017 and 2018, and the views received were incorporated in the amendments. Changes to the unclaimed asset regime were announced in Budget 2019 and Budget 2021 and enacted in the Budget Implementation Act 2021, No. 1.
The Bank of Canada and the Canadian Bankers Association (CBA), were consulted on numerous occasions since enactment on the coming into force date. Concerns were raised on notice requirements and the capacity to update systems in time, with a June 2023 date suggested by the CBA. Finance Canada has communicated the June 2023 date to the CBA, which has been working with its members since then to implement the changes. The Bank of Canada has confirmed that it will be ready to implement the changes in 2023 and will use existing funds to operationalize the Order.
Associate Assistant Deputy Minister
Financial Sector Policy Branch
Department of Finance Canada
90 Elgin Street