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Bank of Canada holds thousands in dormant Jewish accounts

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The Bank of Canada building in Ottawa (Wikimedia Commons/Wladyslaw/https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en)

Jewish and Israel-based organizations past and present may claim thousands of dollars in forgotten and abandoned Canadian bank accounts.

The Bank of Canada has updated its list of inactive accounts. As of Dec. 31, 2019, Canada’s central bank was holding more than two million “unclaimed balances” worth $888 million that belong to individuals, businesses and community groups. That’s double the amount from 10 years ago.

Also listed are payees – entities that received cheques, bank drafts or money orders that were never deposited.

The vast majority of the abandoned accounts held less than $1,000, the bank said in a statement published on its website.

According to the bank, an unclaimed balance is a “Canadian-dollar account, deposit or negotiable instrument held or issued by a federally-regulated bank or trust company (that) has been inactive for 10 years and the owner cannot be contacted.”

Any bank account in Canadian dollars left abandoned for 10 years is forwarded to the Bank of Canada, which holds the funds for 30 years if the balance is less than $1,000. If an abandoned account is worth more than $1,000, the bank holds the funds for 100 years.

According to a search of the inactive accounts, a host of Jewish groups, some defunct, have unclaimed monies, including: the Canadian Federation of Students, defunct since 2011; the Council of Jewish Brotherhoods; the Edmonton Jewish Women’s Baseball League; the “Jewish Emergency Relief Association,” with an address in Thornhill, Ont., and an unclaimed account worth $2,556.16; the Jewish Singles Network; the Toronto Jewish Soccer Club; and the United Jewish Appeal in Toronto as a payee.

The “Hungarian Jewish Memorial Association” has an unclaimed balance of $1,869.39.

Also listed are Associated Hebrew Day School; Bialik Hebrew Day School’s “teachers expenses”; and Canadian Friends of Hebrew University as a payee. A listing for “Hebrew Friendly Charity Toronto,” with an address in Richmond Hill, Ont., shows an unclaimed balance of $4,426.03.

Shown as payees are the Bathurst Jewish Community Centre (now the Prosserman JCC) and the Jewish National Fund of Canada.

By far, the largest unclaimed balance – $6,041.86 – is in the name of the “Ethiopian Jewish Association in Canada,” with an address in Montreal.

The CJN is listed as a payee of three financial transactions that were abandoned, forgotten or lost.

A search of “Israel” yields the 1997 State of Israel Bonds campaign; the men’s club at the former Agudath Israel Congregation in Ottawa; the sisterhood of Beth Israel Synagogue in Edmonton; and several listings of Israel’s consulate in Toronto as a payee.

Organizations and individuals may access the site and make a claim by clicking on the “Core Functions” tab on the Bank of Canada’s website and then the “Unclaimed Balances” link to go to the search portal.

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