Most Canadians would turn in a found thousand dollars except in Surrey, B.C., survey finds

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You find $1,000 on the street. No one sees you picking it up. What do you do? Hand it over to the police in case someone claims it? Or keep it?

If you picked option A, congratulations: You’re in the majority of Canadians who were asked this question in a survey conducted by The casino-ranking web site asked 4,660 Canadians in 30 cities to answer the question, then gathered the total data as well as city-by-city breakdowns.

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The survey found that, generally speaking (very generally, mind you) the further west you go, the less likely you are to find Canadians willing to turn over the money.

The city of Surrey, B.C., a suburb of Vancouver, ranked highest in the “keep it” category, with more than half (55 per cent) saying they’d hang on to the money. Next up, Saskatoon (50 per cent), then Winnipeg and Regina (45 per cent). The first city east of the Prairies in the rankings was Hamilton, Ont., at 44 per cent.

Where does your city rank in the listings? Photo by

At the other end of the scale, Ontario and Quebec cities fared well on the “honest” side of the ledger. Laval, Que., Windsor and Burlington, Ont., all had just 30 per cent of respondents saying they’d keep the money. The next 12 cities in the rankings were also in those two provinces, topping out with Toronto at roughly the middle of the pile at 34 per cent.

The Atlantic provinces were not represented in the survey with the exception of Halifax, which matched the national average of 36 per cent of people saying they’d keep the money and 66 per cent saying they’d hand it over to the police. There was only a tiny difference between the sexes, with 35.2 per cent of men opting to keep the money versus 36.8 per cent of women.

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The survey also points out that most jurisdictions have laws requiring you to at least attempt to return found money to its rightful owner, with the onus increasing commensurate with the sum. (No judge is going to hold you to account for grabbing an errant $5 bill carried by the breeze.)

And of course, if the owner is easy to identify — let’s say you find $1,000 in a wallet along with the ID of, say, your least favourite politician — then the legal requirement becomes even stronger. Still, it’s fun to dream.

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