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How to uncover unclaimed money that may belong to you

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Strapped for cash during the COVID-19 pandemic due to the economic slowdown? You might have unclaimed money from your past that could help pay the bills — perhaps from a dormant bank account or a lost cheque.

Or maybe a rich relative died without a will and — unbeknownst to you — you’re entitled to their money. A $1.9 million inheritance is currently sitting idle in B.C., waiting for the next of kin to claim.

To find out if you’re a millionaire or if you have any other unclaimed funds, here are some free, simple ways to launch your treasure hunt.

Uncashed CRA cheques

The Canada Revenue Agency is sitting on about $1 billion from cheques for tax refunds and benefits that taxpayers never cashed.

In some cases, the recipient may have lost the cheque or neglected to tell the CRA that they had moved, so it was mailed to the wrong address.

In February, the CRA added a new online feature to help unite taxpayers with their uncashed cheques — which never expire.

 

In February, the Canada Revenue Agency added an online feature allowing taxpayers to search for uncashed cheques when they log into their account. (CRA)

 

After logging onto your CRA account online, click on the “uncashed cheques” link. That will prompt a list of any CRA cheques in your name that have remained uncashed for at least six months.

To claim your money, fill out a form provided online and send it to the agency.

The CRA reports that between Feb. 10 — when it launched the new feature — and the end of May, Canadians redeemed more than 260,000 uncashed cheques totalling $63.7 million.

 

In April, Dave Hurley of Vancouver discovered he had a CRA cheque that remained uncashed since 2007. (Submitted by Dave Hurley)

 

Dave Hurley of Vancouver clicked on the “uncashed cheques” link in April and was surprised to discover he had a $88.50 cheque for a 2007 GST/HST credit.

He said he made a claim and the CRA deposited the money into his account about a month later.

“An extra 88 bucks was good — it was great to have,” said Hurley, who used the money to splurge on a high-end bottle of Scotch whisky.

“I felt I deserved it.”

Central bank has $888 million in unclaimed funds

The Bank of Canada can also help you locate forgotten cash. When federally regulated banks have unclaimed customer funds — such as bank deposits, GICs and money orders — they wind up at the Bank of Canada after a 10-year period.

The bank calls the forgotten money “unclaimed balances,” and you can search its online database to find out if any of it belongs to you. To stake a claim, you must fill out a claim form provided online and mail it to the bank with proof of ownership.

 

The Bank of Canada said it paid out $8.5 million last year to Canadians who submitted claims for unclaimed money it has in its coffers. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

 

The Bank of Canada said it paid out $8.5 million last year to Canadians who submitted claims.

And it has plenty more to dole out. The bank reports it was sitting on $888 million in unclaimed balances at the close of 2019. Its single-largest holding totals more than $800,000.

Rightful owners have ample time to claim their cash. The bank will hold unclaimed balances of less than $1,000 for 30 years and amounts of $1,000 or more for 100 years.

Forgotten EI cheques

Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), which oversees federal social programs, may also have cash for you. The government department reports that as of Sept. 30, 2019, it was sitting on $133 million from more than 300,000 cheques issued to Canadians that — for some reason — were never cashed.

The majority of the cheques belong to people who have at some point collected Canada Pension Plan, Employment Insurance or Old Age Security payments.

ESDC doesn’t have an online search tool, but you can call Service Canada if you believe you have a forgotten cheque. If it turns out you do and you’re able to validate your identity, the department will reissue the cheque.

Unclaimed property programs

If you have ever lived in B.C., Alberta or Quebec, you can dig for forgotten money by searching online databases provided by unclaimed property programs in each of the three provinces.

The programs collect funds from provincially regulated companies, organizations and financial institutions. Depending on the province, collected funds could include wages, insurance and pension fund payments, as well as accounts from credit unions.

All three programs collect unclaimed inheritances left by people who died and no rightful heir can be found.

WATCH | Personal finance experts offer advice to Canadians:

Finance experts answer viewer questions about coping during the COVID-19 pandemic including whether small businesses should take on debt with uncertain times ahead. 7:37

B.C., Alberta and Quebec‘s unclaimed property programs each have slightly different rules but share the same goal: to unite people with their long-lost money.

“You can’t believe what people forget [about] and for what dollars,” said Alena Levitz, executive director of the BC Unclaimed Property Society (BCUPS).

The BCUPS reports it returned $2,744,595 in unclaimed cash last year to verified owners. It currently has more than $164 million in its coffers waiting to be claimed.

The total includes that $1.9 million left by someone who died in B.C. without a will.

“Somebody was a good saver all their life and just didn’t have [close] family and unfortunately, probably didn’t think to do a will,” Levitz said. She couldn’t divulge more details about the case for privacy reasons.

BCUPS imposes no time limit to make a claim and has cash still waiting for its rightful owners dating back to the 1800s.

Levitz encourages other provinces to establish an unclaimed property program. Currently, residents of provinces without one must make inquiries to individual businesses and organizations to seek out forgotten cash.

“It should be easy for folks to find money that belongs to them,” she said.

New Brunswick has an unclaimed property program in the works.

Source:-cbc-ca

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Forex Today: The dollar’s remains the weakest – FXStreet

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Here is what you need to know on Thursday, August 6:

Dollar’s sell-off continued. A poor ADP survey that showed that the private sector added just 167K new jobs in July added pressure on the American currency. The ISM Services PMI surprised to the upside, but investors ignored the headline as the employment sub-component was weak.  Meanwhile, the US Congress continues to discuss the next aid package, without reaching an agreement just yet.

High-yielding EUR, GBP and AUD flirted with their recent multi-month highs on the back of dollar’s weakness, but there was no follow-through, easing just modestly ahead of Wall Street close.

Equities closed with gains, while government bond yields bounced a bit from their recent lows, preventing the USD/JPY pair from collapsing.

USD/CAD plunged in a mixture of encouraging Canadian data and rising oil prices, with WTI reaching $43.50 a barrel. The US EIA stockpiles report showed that stockpiles were down by 7.37 million in the week ended July 31.

Gold prices soared, hitting fresh all-time highs. Spot gold traded as high as $2055.69 a troy ounce.

Cryptocurrency Market News: India is looking to ban Bitcoin yet again

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The 'shop local' message is everywhere, but it's tough resisting deals during a pandemic – CBC.ca

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Are you on board the shop local movement that’s rolling across Canada?

The encouragement to support neighbourhood businesses is coming from all quarters as the economy struggles to emerge from the financial devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Whether it’s provincial and municipal initiatives, chambers of commerce programs, highly publicized incentive campaigns backed by financial giants, or small signs in front of individual businesses, the message is the same: Show your local entrepreneurs some extra love during these difficult times — it’s important for helping the economy recover. 

While recent polls suggest most Canadians support the idea, actually getting people to prioritize shopping locally over scoring the best deal and the convenience of shopping online is a tough sell during a pandemic, some experts say.

Consumers lack confidence

The pandemic has left many people out of work and feeling insecure about their finances, which could make finding the lowest prices more important than supporting local small businesses.

The Bank of Canada’s most recent survey of consumer expectations showed that virtually all indicators have deteriorated due to the impact of the pandemic, including people’s expectations for wages, spending, labour market conditions, inflation and growth in house prices.

“Everybody is trying to find a deal because they don’t know how long their money is going to last,” said economist Armine Yalnizyan.

And maintaining low prices can be a challenge for small enterprises, she said.

“They have a hard time providing deep-cut bargains, especially now.”

A billboard ad from American Express encouraging shoppers to spend locally is on display over Toronto’s Yonge-Dundas Square on Aug. 4. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Still, surveys done since the pandemic began suggest there is growing support for small businesses in this country. A key finding from a Leger poll conducted in April was that “Canadians say they are buying local products more often or for the first time.”

American Express Canada said 83 per cent of participants in an online poll in June agreed it was time to support the small business community, while 76 per cent said they were “determined to shop local more than in the past.” The poll wasn’t randomized, but a comparable random poll would have a margin of error of four percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Who says they don’t support small businesses?

But Wayne Smith, a professor at Ryerson University’s Ted Rogers School of Management who specializes in consumer behaviour, says what people tell researchers can differ from how they actually behave in the real world.

“It’s kind of like asking if people like puppies,” he said. “Everyone’s going to say they like puppies. But how many people go out and get a puppy?”

Smith compares the shop local phenomenon to consumers committing to shop at stores that specialize in environmentally friendly, sustainable products.

“Some do it, but it’s a relatively small proportion of the population,” he said. “Otherwise, Walmart would be out of business.”

People walk and shop in Ottawa’s ByWard Market on June 25. (Hugo Belanger/CBC)

Buying decisions are based on “perceived value,” Smith said. Locally sourced goods or services must be of equal or greater quality than those found elsewhere if consumers are going to follow through on their good intentions, he said.

Julia Gray of Toronto said she and her family are happy to shop locally as much as possible and support small businesses instead of large corporate chains.

However, as an artist, she is also very value conscious, she said.

“My income is always a bit in flux, so, as a family, we’ve learned to be careful about our spending.”

Julia Gray of Toronto shops regularly at her local green grocer. She said she prefers to support small businesses instead of large corporate chains, and the pandemic has made her even more selective about where her money goes. (Submitted by Julia Gray)

Even so, the pandemic inspired her to make a more concerted effort to support her neighbouring businesses, she said.

“Instead of ordering from Pizza Pizza or some other corporate pizza place, let’s order from the local place where their kids go to school with our kids,” she said. “These places won’t survive if we don’t help them.”

Amazon sales booming

Gray says small businesses can also be preferable from a health perspective.

“We have folks in our family who are immunocompromised,” she said. “We don’t want to go where there are big groups and you can be more exposed to the virus. Smaller shops don’t have as many people in them.”

She avoids shopping at Amazon, she said, because it’s one way to express her values.

“You can vote, and you can decide where to spend your money,” she said. “We think about workers — are they treated fairly? Are they protected? And in whose hands does our money end up?”

But Lonnie Delisle, a choir director in Vancouver, is a fan of Amazon.

“It’s so convenient. The price point is good, the selection is good,” he said. “The ease at which you can find things and make the purchases. Amazon is exceedingly user-friendly.”

Packages are sorted to be shipped inside of an Amazon fulfilment centre in Robbinsville, N.J., in this photo from November 2017. It’s difficult for small local businesses to compete with an online behemoth like Amazon. (Lucas Jackson/Reuters)

Delisle said he tries to shop with Canadian companies as much as possible, often checking the Bay or Canadian Tire first.

“But when you need something, and [Amazon has] what’s available, that’s where we go.”

Amazon has thrived during the pandemic, with sales jumping 40 per cent compared to the same time last year. Revenue from international markets such as Canada has also surged due to increased demand.

Big businesses offer incentives for shopping locally

However, even some very big businesses in Canada are trying to get the message out about the importance of small businesses.

The Royal Bank and American Express Canada are both spending big bucks on multimedia advertising campaigns to encourage consumers to shop locally, and offering financial incentives to customers who support small businesses.

RBC’s Canada United campaign offers customers extra points on their RBC Rewards card by shopping locally.

The bank also produced a video about the importance of small businesses and will donate five cents to a special fund every time someone views the video, or likes or shares it on social media. Entrepreneurs will then be able to apply to the fund for grants up to $5,000 to help them cover costs associated with keeping their business afloat through the pandemic. 

American Express Canada’s Shop Small initiative gives cardholders $5 in credits when they spend at least $10 at up to 10 different small businesses, to earn a maximum of $50 in free money. The company has also created a Shop Small Map to direct shoppers to eligible stores.

“It’s good for our economy,” said Kerri-Ann Santaguida, vice-president and general manager of merchant services for American Express Canada. “It’s about the vibrancy of neighbourhoods across the country.”

Economist Armine Yalnizyan says household debt was a huge issue in Canada prior to the pandemic and she worries about what will happen when CERB payments stop. (Christopher Katsarov/The Atkinson Foundation)

Economist Armine Yalnizyan said the strategies of American Express Canada and RBC are similar to that of the federal government, with its rent relief program and small business loans, because they recognize that businesses are the engine that will pull Canada’s economy through the crisis.

We can’t have resilient communities without resilient small businesses,” said Yalnizyan, who holds a fellowship on the future of jobs from the Atkinson Foundation, a Toronto-based charitable organization focused on social and economic justice.

The fact is, she said, big financial institutions such as RBC and American Express Canada depend on a healthy economy.

“They’re trying to keep as many businesses afloat as possible,” she said, “which will minimize the increase in permanent layoffs.”

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Ottawa announces deals with two international companies for COVID-19 vaccines – The Globe and Mail

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Nurse Kath Olmstead, right, gives volunteer Melissa Harting, of Harpersville, N.Y., an injection as the world’s biggest study of a possible COVID-19 vaccine, developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., gets underway, on July 27, 2020, in Binghamton, N.Y.

Hans Pennink/The Associated Press

Ottawa has struck deals with two international drug companies to purchase their candidate COVID-19 vaccines for distribution in Canada, federal officials said on Wednesday.

Details of the agreements reached with Moderna and Pfizer Inc., including the cost of the vaccines, have not been disclosed, but Public Service and Procurement Canada Minister Anita Anand said that millions of doses have been ordered from the two companies for delivery in 2021. She added similar arrangements were being sought with other suppliers, with options to increase orders based on need.

“We are working on all possible fronts and diversifying our vaccine supply chain,” Ms. Anand said.

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Though the terms of each agreement vary, both vaccines will ultimately require Health Canada regulatory approval. This will depend, in part, on how they perform in clinical trials over the coming months.

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During a news conference in Toronto, Ms. Anand said parallel efforts were under way to boost supplies of needles, syringes and alcohol swabs as part of “preparing Canada for mass vaccination” against COVID-19.

At the same briefing, Navdeep Bains, the Minister for Innovation, Science and Economic Development, said his department has formed a vaccine task force to provide the federal government with expert advice on which vaccines to prioritize for purchase on the global market and which Canadian-made vaccines to support with additional funding and production capacity to enable them to advance to clinical trials.

“Priority number one is to make sure that we have safe and effective vaccines for all Canadians,” Mr. Bains said. “Long term, we also want to build a strong industrial base for [Canada’s] life sciences sector.”

The widespread distribution of a successful vaccine is widely regard as the only viable solution to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Among the nearly 200 COVID-19 vaccines in development worldwide, about 30 have advanced to human testing. As of this week, six have now reached Phase 3 clinical trials designed to measure vaccine efficacy by administering doses to thousands or tens of thousands of individuals and tracking their rates of infection over time. Among the six are the two vaccines that Canada has so far arranged to purchase.

The vaccine developed by Moderna, a Massachusetts-based biotech company, yielded promising results in an early study published last month in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Pfizer’s vaccine was developed jointly with BioNTech, a company based in Germany. That partnership has already stuck similar deals to supply its vaccine to Japan, the United States and Britain.

BioNTech confirmed that part of the manufacturing of the Canadian order would take place in Canada.

The federal announcement also included $56-million for Ottawa company Variation Biotechnologies Inc. and $3-million for Nova Scotia based IMV Inc. to support clinical trials of two made-in-Canada vaccine candidates. Earlier this year the federal government provided funding to Medicago, a Quebec company that last month launched Canada’s first clinical COVID-19 vaccine trial.

As of Wednesday, 133 out of 180 volunteers have been injected with the Medicago vaccine as part of a Phase 1 trial, which is primarily a safety test of the vaccine.

The multiple investments are a reflection of a broader awareness that ultimately several vaccines could be needed to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic on a global scale, said Alex Romanovschi, medical director for GSK Canada, which has partnered with Medicago on its trial.

“At the end of the day … no one company will be able to cover the entire world,” Dr. Romanovschi said.

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The federal government has inked deals with both Pfizer and Moderna to get access to millions of doses of their experimental COVID-19 vaccine candidates. Procurement Minister Anita Anand says the vaccines must still finish human trials and be determined safe and effective against COVID-19. If Health Canada approves them, she says, the deals would ensure Canadians are among the first in line for doses next year. The Canadian Press

While several international vaccines are further ahead in testing than the leading Canadian candidates, experts have argued that Canada should complement its international purchases with efforts to accelerate vaccine development and production capacity at home at a time when it’s not clear which vaccines will ultimately work best.

Prioritizing among domestic vaccine projects, as well as potential international partnerships, is part of the mandate of the 12-member vaccine task force, which began its work in early June.

“We’re making investments that are needed now to be sure that something works out,” said Joanne Langley, a professor of pediatrics and community health and epidemiology at Dalhousie University in Halifax.

Mark Lievonen, a former president of Sanofi Pasteur Ltd. who is co-chairing the task force with Dr. Langley, said he is leading a subcommittee that is looking specifically at manufacturing challenges that vaccines makers will face in Canada.

Canadian participation in vaccine production could become crucial if international shipments are delayed at their country of origin because of demand at home or for other reasons.

A hint of the problems that can arise when relying on international sources is evident in the continued holdup of the delivery of a vaccine from CanSino Biologics – a Chinese company that has partnered with Canada’s National Research Council – for a clinical trial in Halifax. That trial was to have started two months ago but the vaccine has so far not been released by Chinese customs.

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Mr. Bains declined to speculate on the cause of the delay but said the issue underscored the need to keep many options open.

Despite this outlook, not every COVID-19 vaccine candidate in Canada has managed to attract federal funding.

On Wednesday, Providence Therapeutics released results from preclincial tests of its mRNA vaccine candidate that is based on the same technology as the Moderna and Pfizer candidates. The company is now seeking support to move ahead with clinical trials.

Brad Sorenson, the company’s chief executive officer, said that the results show the vaccine has the potential to be as good or better than international competitors.

“The question is, does Canada want to be a buyer or a seller?” he said.

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