Best Online Brokers in Canada

Want to claim 6 FREE stocks? Head over to Webull to get started.

The United States and Canada share commonalities — including a booming economy and stock market. The Toronto Stock Exchange (the largest in Canada) is the 12th largest stock market in the world.

The Toronto Stock Exchange has a market cap of $3.3 trillion. Through an abundance of natural gas and energy resources, an agricultural market that dominates in the production of wheat and grains and a newly thriving legal cannabis market, more and more investors are looking north for future profits. If you aren’t a native Canadian, you may still buy and sell stocks on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX).

However, you’ll first need to understand the differences between trading stocks in the United States and Canada, as well as select a Canadian or international brokerage firm to help execute trades on your behalf. Before you sign up for an account with a Canadian bank or brokerage firm, make sure you read our comprehensive guide to getting started in international trading.

Quick Look: The Best Canadian Stock Brokers

Best Canadian Stock Brokers

Not sure where to start? Take a look a the best online brokers in Canada to get started with your trades.

1. Wealthsimple

Wealthsimple is the most convenient investment platform you can use. As you use this robo-advisor, it automatically invests your money, uses the best strategy for your situation and reinvests your dividends.

A visit to Wealthsimple also allows you to learn how to invest. You can check out the education section where you can study investing and personal finance—with this platform, it is very simple to grow as an investor. Additionally, you can call the customer service team or submit a support ticket when you need assistance.

With additional options for fund allocation, halal, eco-friendly and socially-responsible investments, Wealthsimple helps you get to the heart of the matter in mere moments.

Get started securely through Wealthsimple’s website
Best For
New Investors
N/A
1 Minute Review

Wealthsimple is a hybrid robo-advisor with a set-it-and-forget-it approach to investing. Automate your investments, authorize Wealthsimple to round up your credit card purchases to the nearest dollar and watch your long-term savings build up with 1 of Wealthsimple’s comprehensive prebuilt portfolios. Socially responsible and halal investment portfolios are available as well if you prefer to invest a specific way.

Wealthsimple’s investing choices are limited and the platform is geared toward completely new investors who could be overwhelmed by too many technical options. Its education and customer service options need a bit of work, but we recommend Wealthsimple if you’re looking for a simple way to start investing from your desktop or mobile device.

Best For
  • New investors
  • Those concerned with the social implications of portfolio choices
  • Anyone who wants to automate investing
Pros
  • Simple questionnaire to find your perfect asset mix
  • Socially responsible and halal portfolios
  • Higher-level accounts come with perks like airport lounge access and human financial advisor reviews
Cons
  • Lack of choice could frustrate more experienced investors
  • Limited analysis tools and no charting functions available
  • Human advising isn’t free with all account types

2. Interactive Brokers

Interactive Brokers isn’t a Canadian-based online broker. Instead, it offers a U.S.-based trading suite with international functionality and capabilities.

With an eye towards professional investors, Interactive Brokers’ fees are exceptionally low. You can expect to pay around $0.008 CAD per share for trades of less than 300,000 shares with a minimum commission of just $1 CAD. Interactive Brokers also offers additional discounts for high-volume traders and fees decrease as the volume of the trade increases. Though Interactive Brokers does charge an account maintenance fee for less-active traders that ranges from $10 to $20 per month, this is on the lower end for brokers offering TSX trades.

get started securely through Interactive Broker’s website
Best For
Sophisticated Investors
N/A
1 Minute Review

Interactive Brokers is a comprehensive trading platform that gives you access to a massive range of securities at affordable prices. You can buy assets from all around the world from the comfort of your home or office with access to over 135 global markets. Options, futures, forex and fund trading are also available, and most traders won’t pay a commission on any purchase or sale.  

IBKR is geared primarily toward experienced traders and investors but now with the availability of free trades with IBKR Lite, casual traders can also acclimate to IBKR’s offerings.

Best For
  • Access to International markets
  • Active traders
  • Sophisticated investors
  • Detailed mobile app that makes trading simple
  • Wide range of available account types and tradable assets
Pros
  • IB SmartRouting searches for the best firm price at the time of your order
  • Trade on 135 markets, in 33 countries & 23 currencies worldwide
  • Invest globally in stocks, options, futures, currencies, bonds and funds from a single integrated account
  • Select from 24 currencies as a base currency for your account
Cons

3. National Bank of Canada

While the National Bank of Canada is not a stock broker, it offers several options that allow you to prepare for retirement, save and manage your investments. You can invest in NBI funds and portfolios, try various savings plans, investment plans and retirement plans. Guaranteed Investment Certificates are also available.

This is the best place to go in Canada when you want to work with a traditional bank and invest at the same time. Think of NBC as a place where “total money management” is possible.

4. CIBC

For investments, you’ll pay a flat fee of only $6.95 per online equity trade with no minimum. You can conveniently trade from anywhere, using CIBC’s desktop platform and mobile app. Customize your trading experience with screeners, technical insight, their morning news call, advanced charting, alerts, watch lists, and more.

As for tradable securities, CIBC offers equities, ETFs, options, mutual funds, GICs, fixed income and precious metals.

get started securely through CIBC Investor’s Edge’s website
Best For
Investors
N/A
1 Minute Review

CIBC Investor’s Edge offers brokerage services to Canadian residents and is one of the best Canadian brokerages. The CIBC is the result of the merger of the Canadian Bank of Commerce (est. 1867) and the Imperial Bank of Canada (est. 1875) in 1961. The Investor’s Edge brokerage arm offers Canadian residents access to Canadian and U.S. stock and options markets, guaranteed investment certificates (GICs), exchange-traded funds (ETFs), bonds and mutual funds at low commission rates. The broker provides a platform with web-based, desktop and mobile trading options and gives clients access to 3rd-party research resources that can really help a self-directed investor or trader.

Best For
  • Self-directed and active traders
  • Self-directed and active traders Traders looking for reduced commissions
  • Students
  • Investors who require linked bank accounts
Pros
  • Low commission schedule
  • No fees on registered education savings plans (RESPs)
  • Able to integrate brokerage and bank accounts
  • Student-friendly commissions
Cons
  • Only for Canadian residents
  • Annual maintenance fee
  • No forex trading
  • No forex trading No demo account

5. IFC Markets

IFC Markets is a popular forex and CFD broker that connects you with these assets better than the average broker. At IFC Markets, you benefit from several options like:

  • The GeWorko Portfolio Quoting Method for creating synthetic assets
  • 15 years of industry experience
  • Insured by AIG Europe
get started securely through IFC Markets’s website
Best For
Small Volume Traders
N/A
1 Minute Review

Founded in 2006, IFC Markets is a popular forex and contracts for difference (CFD) broker that provides high-quality trading services to over 185,000 clients from more than 80 countries. The broker has oversight from the British Virgin Islands Financial Services Commission (BVI FSC) as well as the Labuan Financial Services Authority (LFSA) in Malaysia. 

IFC Markets offers trading in over 600 financial instruments including forex, stocks, indices, commodities, cryptocurrency futures and synthetic assets through excellent trading platforms: MetaTrader 4, MetaTrader 5 and its own developed NetTradeX advanced platform. IFC Markets also gives clients unlimited trading opportunities via its unique GeWorko Portfolio Quoting Method that lets traders create their own synthetic instruments or choose from PCI Library, synthetic instruments created by professionals. 

Best For
  • Traders who want to create their own trading instruments
  • Intraday and mid-term traders
  • Small volume traders
  • Trading platforms variety
Pros
  • The GeWorko Portfolio Quoting Method lets you create synthetic assets
  • 15 years experience in the business
  • Highly rated by clients with 8 recent international awards
  • Insured by AIG Europe Ltd.
Cons
  • Only regulated by 2 minor agencies
  • Not available to traders in the U.S., Japan and Russia

6. Questrade

Benzinga’s 2021 FinTech Awards Winner for Best Canadian Brokerage.

Get started securely through Questrade’s website
Best For
Canadian Investors
N/A
1 Minute Review

Questrade, a low-cost Canadian online broker born in 1999, has grown up to become the largest independent fintech in Canada. It provides self-directed and managed investing and trading in diverse asset classes such as equities, bonds, forex, commodities, options, and ETFs. Competitive pricing, ease of use and the availability of multiple trading platforms is a definite boon for those in the land of rad hockey skills, icebergs, and Lake Louise.

Best For
  • Active traders
  • Cost-conscious clients
  • ETF traders
Pros
  • Cheap commissions, especially ETF purchases
  • Active trades are entitled to rebates
  • No annual maintenance fee
  • Broad range of asset classes
  • Well-regulated
  • Practice accounts are available
Cons
  • Available only to Canadian residents
  • Checking account funding takes longer to process
  • Doesn’t offer banking services

7. Scotia iTrade

Benzinga’s 2021 FinTech Awards Listmaker for Best Canadian Brokerage.

Get started securely through Scotia iTrade’s website
Best For
Active Trading
N/A
1 Minute Review

Scotia iTRADE is the brokerage arm of Scotiabank, one of the Big 5 banks in Canada. Scotia iTRADE is the result of Scotiabank’s purchase of E*TRADE Canada in 2008 that doubled the bank’s online investment client base. Since then, Scotia iTRADE has won numerous awards and is ranked as one of the best Canadian brokerages owned by a bank.

iTRADE offers discounted commissions and several high-powered trading platforms for active traders. iTRADE provides free educational resources for novice traders and more experienced traders can benefit from the extensive research facilities of Scotiabank. You can also pay bills, manage and transfer funds and set up and make future-dated transactions, all from your iTRADE/Scotiabank-linked accounts.

Best For
  • Active traders
  • New investors and traders
  • self-directed investors
Pros
  • Discounted commissions for active traders
  • Excellent trading platforms
  • High-quality research from Scotiabank
  • Practice account
Cons
  • Annual fee for both registered and unregistered accounts
  • Premium FlightDesk platform not free of charge

8. Qtrade

Investing with Qtrade gives you access to stocks, ETFs, options, mutual funds, bonds, GICs and other securities with competitive prices. Investors on Qtrade are using a seamless platform that’s easy to navigate, can gather information quickly and enjoy a simplified trading experience.

Plus, you get:

  • Frictionless onboarding
  • Competitive incentives
  • An industry-leading customer experience
  • Intuitive trading options
  • Enhanced portfolio analytics
  • Low-cost trading options
  • Commission-free ETF trading
  • Canada’s best online trading support

9. BMO Investorline

Benzinga’s 2021 FinTech Awards Listmaker for Best Canadian Brokerage.

Best For
Self-directed Investors
N/A
1 Minute Review

BMO InvestorLine is the Bank of Montreal’s (NYSE: BMO) (TSX: BMO) self-directed investment service. Offered to the bank’s clients in 1988, it went completely online in 2000 and is ranked among the best Canadian brokerages. The broker provides access to 3rd-party research, educational tools, a desktop and web trading platform plus a mobile and tablet app.

You can trade Canadian-listed stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), stock options, mutual funds and guaranteed investment certificates (GICs) with BMO InvestorLine. It charges a flat brokerage rate and plans to introduce a revamped website in September 2019.

Best For
  • Active traders
  • Self-directed investors
  • Investors who want a registered savings plan
Pros
  • Variety of investment accounts
  • 3rd-party research options
  • 5-star program for active investors
  • Flat brokerage fee
Cons
  • Only available to Canadian residents
  • CA$5,000 minimum to open an account
  • Maintenance fees for accounts that don’t meet minimum balance requirements

10. Fundmore.ai

Benzinga’s 2021 FinTech Awards Listmaker for Best Canadian Brokerage.

Best Tool in Canada: Stocktrade

Canadian investors don’t want to miss Stocktrades.ca’s tools. If you want to increase your returns in an industry plagued with misinformation, Stocktrades’ main priority offers refreshing objectivity and offers investors accurate, timely and high-quality investment news and information.

You’ll get high quality research on some of the best growth, dividend and value stocks in the country.

Whether you choose Stocktrades’ free plan or Premium access, you’ll get 40 years of combined self-directed investment experience.

Stocktrades.ca’s free plan offers:

  • Limited access to foundational stocks
  • Custom model portfolios
  • Growth stock screeners
  • Dividend safety screeners

Stocktrades Premium offers full access to the following for a mere $20.83 per month: 

  • Canadian growth stock picks
  • Canadian dividend stock picks
  • Annual foundational stock picks
  • 9 model growth portfolios
  • Dividend safety screeners
  • Growth stock screeners
  • Custom research requests
  • Brand new IPO centre
  • Q&A section

Access your membership today.

get started securely through stocktrades.ca’s website
Best For
Canadian stock research
N/A
1 Minute Review

Stocktrades.ca provides expert stock picks, handy screening tools, model portfolios and other essential tools to help investors at every skill level make smart choices with their investments. With both a free and premium option, you can get access to a bank of constantly updated research and recommendations, no matter what your price point. 

Investors of all trading styles can enjoy Stocktrades.ca’s custom-tailored recommendations and screening tools to find the best stocks for their portfolio, whether they’re focused on growth, value or dividends. In this review, we’ll cover all the key features that come with both the free and premium plans as well as what kind of investors these features are best suited to.

Best For
  • Custom model portfolios for beginner investors to effortlessly build their ideal investment portfolios
  • Expert stock picks tailored to your investment style
  • Access to research and recommendations from some of Canada’s most successful investors
Pros
  • 9 model growth portfolios
  • Dividend, growth and value stock screeners
  • Custom research requests for premium customers
Cons
  • No mobile app

What You Need to Know About Trading in Canada

  • Prices are listed in CAD

When you’re reading stock quotes on Canadian exchanges, most assets will have prices listed in CAD instead of the USD that’s used on Wall Street. Though some trading software programs will allow you to change the viewable currencies, online listings generally default to listing Canadian securities in CAD. Keep a live currency conversion calculator (like the one available for free at XE.com) to help you enhance your trading and quickly convert prices back to your native currency.

  • Canadian markets are less liquid

Though the Canadian stock market may expand every day, it still pales in comparison to the market that American traders frequent. The total market capitalization of the Toronto Stock Exchange is about $2.28 trillion — compare that number to $30.2 trillion in average daily market capitalization on the NYSE alone.

This means that shares of stock are bought and sold much less frequently on the Canadian stock market when compared to the American market. If you’re planning on day trading through a Canadian brokerage firm, keep this lower level of liquidity in mind when formulating your trading strategy.

This is especially important when it comes to diversifying your portfolio. Yes, you can diversify using Canadian stocks, but you can only go so far. You may need to find other forms of investment—gold, silver, commodities, bonds, crypto, etc.—to fill the gap.

  • Canadian accounts charge maintenance fees

In the United States, it’s pretty uncommon to see a brokerage account charge fees for inactivity or maintenance unless the brokerage firm is aimed only at large-scale professional traders. In Canada, the vast majority of brokerages charge account maintenance fees (sometimes referred to as “service fees” or “annual fees”) unless you make a high number of trades or have a very high-value account.

The best online brokerages institute a low account minimum to avoid annual fees, but these minimums may be as high as $5,000 CAD. Don’t be surprised when you see that paying an annual fee is basically unavoidable for most people and consider annual fees when you’re making your final brokerage decision.

  • Not every Canadian broker offers the same equities

In the United States, most brokerages offer a host of equity types to maximize commissions and bring in more high-profile traders. It’s common for brokerage firms that specialize in stock offering to also give traders the option to trade options, futures contracts, mutual funds, ETFs and even sometimes cryptocurrencies and currencies.

In Canada, offerings will vary significantly depending on the broker, so make sure your brokerage offers every type of asset you want to trade before you open an account or make a deposit.  

  • Canada has different tax-advantaged account types

In the United States, we’re used to dealing with multiple account types, from IRAs to 401(k)s to SEP IRAs. When you open an account with a Canadian brokerage firm, you’ll usually be limited to two types of accounts: taxable accounts and Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs).

If you are under the age of 69 and you regularly pay income tax to the Canadian government, you probably qualify to open an RRSP, which is most similar in tax function to a traditional IRA in the United States. If you aren’t a Canadian citizen, immigrant or permanent alien, you probably only qualify to open a standard taxable account.

What to Look for in a Canadian Online Broker

  • Great research offerings

Like most brokerage firms in the United States, brokers in Canada often offer free trading and educational tools and suites to help new traders learn the ropes and older traders enhance their trades. Though offerings will vary depending on the broker and its client, the best brokers offer free tools to help traders get ahead of the game.

  • Support for the assets you want to trade

If you only want to trade Canadian securities listed on the TSX, every stock broker that operates online will be able to execute the trades you’re looking for.

However, if you’d also like to trade on other international markets or you’re interested in getting started in forex, options or cryptocurrency trading, you’ll need to double-check and make sure that your broker also offers these services.

  • Extended customer service options

Most people don’t enjoy racking up hundreds of dollars in international calling fees because of an error on their Canadian brokerage account. Look for an international broker that offers chat and email customer service options in addition to standard calling choices to limit money lost in phone bills.

  • Account security features

Prosecuting fraud and account mismanagement are very difficult to do across national borders. Look for brokers that offer enhanced security features (like two-factor authentication and reCAPTCHA requirements) to ensure that you are the only one who is able to access and use your account.

  • Mobile app

When you open an account with a Canadian broker, look for a firm that offers a functional and user-friendly mobile app. Mobile apps allow you to invest as you travel, give you instant access to your account and allow you to trade at all hours.

Final Thoughts

It’s impossible to name a single “best” online brokerage for Canadian trading because each of our top five picks has its points of strength and points of weakness. If fees and commissions are on your mind, Interactive Brokers should be your first stop.

If you’re searching for a complete suite of advanced trading tools, you’ll fall in love with TD Direct. If you’re young and hungry for information, Qtrade might be right for you. Before you choose a broker, sit down and create a “wish list” of everything that you want in a broker and arrange your priorities by level of importance to you — this will help you pick the perfect match for your individual needs.

See also: How to Trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange

Q

Do all stock brokers offer the same products?

1
Do all stock brokers offer the same products?
asked
A
1

No, stock brokers do not always offer the same products and access. Look at the offerings of your preferred broker to ensure it provides you with the versatility you need.

answered
Q

Can a stock broker help you invest in crypto?

1
Can a stock broker help you invest in crypto?
asked
A
1

Some stock brokers also offer cryptocurrency trading, but others avoid digital currency entirely.

answered