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Best Online Brokerages in Canada April 2024

April 03, 2024

There’s quite a kerfuffle going on among Canadian stock brokers, who are competing for your loonies by offering deeply discounted trades, high-quality tools and/or convenience. So who’s skookum and who are the hosers? Each broker has its own unique blend of strengths and weaknesses, and we call them out for you here. Note that U.S. stocks can be purchased at all of these brokers.

Canada plays a significant role in the global economy. The Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) is the 12th largest in the world, with more than $3 trillion in total assets. While it's large, it’s also heavily concentrated in the financial, energy, industrial and material sectors, which are all cyclical, meaning their stock prices are sensitive to economic strength and weakness. Investors seeking to diversify away from cyclical companies will appreciate brokers who can buy and hold foreign currencies and stock.

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Best Online Trading Platforms in Canada 2024

Here are the top brokers for trading stocks in Canada.

  • Questrade
    - Overall best trading platform in Canada
  • Interactive Brokers
    - Best for professionals and active traders
  • Qtrade Direct Investing - Best for long-term investors
  • TD Direct Investing - Diverse trading tools and great education
  • CIBC Investor’s Edge - Transparent fees
  • Wealthsimple - Best commission-free trading in Canada
Questrade
5/5 Stars 5.0 Overall

Overall best trading platform in Canada

$.01 per share ($4.95 min / $9.95 max). For residents of Canada, Questrade is the best online broker for trading, not only on the Canadian stock market, but also the U.S. stock market. The client experience is seamless, the tools are numerous, and commissions are competitive. Read full review

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$50 trade commission rebate.

Interactive Brokers
4.5/5 Stars 4.5 Overall

Best for professionals and active traders

$0.01 per share ($1 min / 0.5% of trade value max). Interactive Brokers is our top pick for professionals because of its institutional-grade desktop trading platform. Professionals aside, Interactive Brokers also appeals to casual investors thanks to its Client Portal web trading platform. Read full review

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New clients, special margin rates.

Qtrade Direct Investing
4.5/5 Stars 4.5 Overall

Best for long-term investors

$8.75 per trade. Qtrade Direct Investing shines for its user-friendly website and all-around client experience. While Questrade has the upper hand with its trading platform, Qtrade provides a more robust stock research center and portfolio analysis tools.

TD Direct Investing
4.5/5 Stars 4.5 Overall

Diverse trading tools and great education

$9.99 per trade. As the most expensive broker in our review, TD Direct Investing offers investors a diverse set of trading tools and research through its WebBroker and Advanced Dashboard platforms. The broker’s mobile app, TD App, provides a similarly clean experience.

CIBC Investor’s Edge
4.5/5 Stars 4.5 Overall

Transparent fees

$6.95 per online equity trade. For casual investors looking for low-cost trades, who are willing to use a broker without all the bells and whistles, CIBC Investor’s Edge is worth considering. The broker is noteworthy for its transparent account fees and low trading costs across the board.

Wealthsimple
4/5 Stars 4.0 Overall

Best commission-free trading in Canada

$0 per trade. For long-term investors who want to set it and forget it or trade on a more passive basis, Wealthsimple is a great choice. Wealthsimple offers a robo-advisor managed solution as part of its Wealthsimple Invest platform. Read full review

Winners Summary

Overall best trading platform in Canada - Questrade

Company Overall Offers Visit Site
Questrade logoQuestrade 5/5 Stars $50 trade commission rebate. Visit Site

Beginners and long-term investors will find Questrade’s website simple to navigate. Traders will gravitate to Questrade Edge, the desktop trading platform. It’s available for both Windows and Mac and I found it the best trading platform for casual traders in Canada.

Questrade's balance between widget choices and ease of use stood out to me the most. Its extensive array of tools, including depth of market, extensive charting capabilities and an options P&L calculator aren’t fussy but will still satisfy active traders, and it’s equally easy on the eyes. Active traders who need Level 2 and real time options pricing data can offset expensive monthly data fees through commission rebates.

  • Canadian stock commission: Buys and sells are $0.01 per share, with a minimum of $4.95 and a maximum of $9.95.
  • Options commission: Buys and sells are $9.95 plus $1.00 per contract.
  • Account fees and minimums: No fee to open an account, and no inactivity fee. Minimum required $1,000 balance to begin investing.

Best for professionals and active traders - Interactive Brokers

Company Overall Offers Visit Site
Interactive Brokers logoInteractive Brokers 4.5/5 Stars New clients, special margin rates. Visit Site

Unlike the other brokers here, Interactive Brokers isn’t Canadian. It’s based in the U.S., but it can execute trades in 33 countries. IBKR, as it’s known, is usually thought of as a broker for institutional investors such as investment advisors or hedge funds.

Its complexity often makes using it confusing for beginners and casual traders but, whenever I boot up an IBKR platform that isn’t the professionally oriented Trader Workstation, I see more and more individual investor-friendly content and features. This year I noticed an educational video with someone who wasn’t dressed in a suit or even business casual. My jaw had to be surgically removed from the floor.

In exchange for tolerating a bit of inconvenience here and there, clients get access to very low trading costs, world-class tools and a suite of mobile apps, which I found to be remarkably user-friendly. IBKR Portal, its everyday investor website, is easy enough to navigate and loaded with information.

  • Canadian stock commission: $0.01 per share, minimum $1.00, maximum of 0.5% of trade value.
  • Options commission: $1.25 per contract, minimum $1.50.
  • Account fees and minimums: No minimum and no inactivity fees.

Best for long-term investors - Qtrade

Company Overall Offers Visit Site
Qtrade Direct Investing logoQtrade Direct Investing 4.5/5 Stars

Qtrade is oriented toward long-term investors. It comes with a solid suite of Morningstar and FactSet research. Itchy traders will likely be happier at Interactive Brokers or TD Direct, but there are automated trading ideas from Trading Central. Qtrade’s standout feature is its excellent portfolio management tools. Don’t miss the geekily named Portfolio Analytics tab, because it has some very easy-to-use gadgets that will help you evaluate the risk in your portfolio.

The education section is hit or miss. If you’re just starting out on your investing journey and are looking for book – err, web – smarts, here’s a helpful tip: Scroll to the bottom to find the most relevant “how to” and “what are” articles. Don’t ask us why Qtrade did it this way.

  • Canadian stock commission: Buys and sells are $8.75. Traders with 150+ trades per quarter and/or $500,000 in equity get lower rate of $6.95.
  • Options commission: Buys and sells are $8.75 plus $1.25 per contract. Active investors (see above) pay $6.95 plus $1.25 per contract.
  • Account fees and minimums: No fee or minimum to open an account. There is an administrative fee of $25 per quarter that is waived under many circumstances.

Diverse trading tools and great education - TD Direct Investing

Company Overall Offers Visit Site
TD Direct Investing logoTD Direct Investing 4.5/5 Stars

TD Direct is polished and provides enough features to satisfy almost everyone, with a robust web trading platform and a clean investing website. It’s logically laid out and smoothly bridges the gap between banking and investing. Novices will get off to a great start, thanks to top notch education articles and videos that cover a broad range of topics and are clear and engaging.

We say “almost everyone” because its web trading platform, TD Advanced Dashboard, simply doesn’t have the depth of Interactive Brokers’ Traders Workstation (few brokers do). Casual traders will find Advanced Dashboard to be sufficient and current TD banking clients will appreciate keeping their banking and investing at the same firm.

TD Direct charges the same commission for trading U.S. shares as it does for Canadian shares. On the bright side, TD offers real-time data for free.

  • Canadian stock commission: $9.99 flat fee.
  • Options commission: $9.99 plus $1.25 per contract.
  • Account fees and minimums: No minimum deposit. $25 quarterly maintenance fees that will be waived under certain conditions.

Transparent fees - CIBC Investor’s Edge

Company Overall Offers Visit Site
CIBC Investor’s Edge logoCIBC Investor’s Edge 4.5/5 Stars

Investor’s Edge has a convenient interface and offers PDF research reports from CIBC World Markets and Morningstar. If you’re a trend follower, you’ll be happy with Investor’s Edge’s collection of sentiment indicators. Charts are clean. Active traders may have to weigh CIBC’s flat $6.95 commission and nice research against the comprehensive platforms offered by Questrade and Interactive Brokers.

Like TD Direct Investing (see above), CIBC does not offer free trading of U.S. shares.

  • Stock commission: $6.95 flat commission.
  • Options commission: $6.95 plus $1.25 per contract.
  • Account fees and minimums: No minimum. No annual account fees for TFSA and RESP. $100 if the balance of a non-registered account is under $10,000. RRSP, RRIF, LIRA and LIF accounts have $100 annual fee if balance is $25,000 or less.

Best Canadian brokers summary

Commission structures vary widely across brokers. Larger and frequent investors should check the detailed pricing of any broker under consideration.

Canadian Online Broker Best For Commission Overall Rating
Questrade Overall best trading platform $4.95 minimum 5 Stars
Interactive Brokers Best for professionals and active traders $0.01 per share 4.5 Stars
Qtrade Direct Investing Best for long-term investors $8.75 4.5 Stars
TD Direct Investing Diverse trading tools and great education $9.99 4.5 Stars
CIBC Investor's Edge Transparent fees $6.95 4.5 Stars
Wealthsimple Best commission-free trading $0 4 Stars

FAQs

Stock trading in Canada

To service Canadian residents, online brokerages must be licensed as securities brokers with the Canadian Investment Regulatory Organization, or CIRO, not to mention keep up with the regulator's name changes. CIRO consolidates the functions of the former Investment Industry Regulatory Organization (IIROC) and Mutual Fund Dealers Association (MFDA), which themselves were renamed New SRO in early 2023; that has now been supplanted by the latest moniker. Canada is served by 262 brokerage firms and 108,000 representatives.

euro_symbol Forex trading in Canada

If your interests go beyond stock trading, see our guide to the best brokers for forex trading in Canada.

How to select a good Canadian brokerage

Canadian brokerages work hard to stand out against one another beyond branding and marketing. What really matters, though, is the trading experience you receive once you are a client with a funded account.

Here’s a list of tips to keep in mind to help you select the right broker the first time:

  • Know your account type beforehand and check the minimum account balance (or minimum trade activity) requirement to avoid annual fees, which vary by broker. That can help you avoid some surprises.
  • Check whether the broker offers commission-free ETFs. Exchange traded funds make it easy to build a diversified portfolio with relatively small account balances or quickly put on a tactical position in an entire sector, industry or even asset class.
  • Make sure your broker supports the asset class you want to trade. If you only trade stocks, options, or funds, then no problem; any broker will service you. However, if you want to trade crypto, complex options, forex, or futures, you should ensure the broker will be able to support you ahead of time.
  • If you are an active trader, read the fine print to compare potential service benefits. Discounted commissions are just one perk of being an active trader. Some brokers will increase the quality of the market data being streamed into the account; others will grant access to better research tools or offer dedicated customer support.
  • If you’re trading non-Canadian stocks, check the foreign exchange spreads. Some brokers advertise commission-free trading of U.S. stocks but make money from the currency conversion.
  • Try out the customer service before opening your account. Look for fast connection times and helpful representatives. For a quick gauge, once you narrow down your selections to two, call both brokerages on the phone and ask them both several questions. This speedy exercise may reveal a lot about what to expect as a client. Tip: Call shortly after the stock market opens if you can, which is traditionally when support is busiest.

What is the best discount brokerage in Canada?

Discount brokers offer lower commission rates to investors who are comfortable investing on their own. Our testing found that Questrade offers the best trading platforms along with excellent educational content and tools. The Questrade Edge desktop platform is one of StockBrokers.com’s favorites for casual active traders among all the brokers we trialled. Professionals will appreciate the low pricing and broad array of investment choices available at Interactive Brokers, which we found is best for international trading.

Are discount brokerages like Questrade and Wealthsimple safe?

Yes, registered brokers like Questrade and Wealthsimple are safe. Brokers are regulated by the Canadian Investment Regulatory Organization. Investors’ assets are protected against broker insolvency through the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF).

Which types of accounts do online brokerages offer in Canada?

Canadian investors can choose among a variety of brokerage account types. In addition to standard brokerage accounts, investors meeting the appropriate criteria may open these account types. Note that some brokers might only offer some of these account options.

  • Tax Free Savings Accounts
  • Registered Retirement Savings Plans
  • Registered Retirement Income Plans
  • Locked-in Retirement Accounts
  • Registered Education Savings Plans
  • First Home Savings Accounts
  • Registered Disability Savings Plans

Which bank is best for stock trading in Canada?

TD Direct Investing has excellent education and an acceptable browser-based trading platform. Carefully weigh the convenience of keeping all your financial assets under one roof against the usually better rates and tools offered by independent brokers such as Questrade and Qtrade.

Which Canadian brokerage has the lowest fees?

There are several zero-commission brokers in Canada. Wealthsimple has no account maintenance fees, no inactivity fees and charges no commission on Canadian and U.S. stocks and exchange-traded funds.

There are fees for options trading and exercises and currency conversion, along with some administrative fees. National Bank Discount Brokers is zero-commission, but does charge inactivity fees. Mogotrade also doesn’t charge commissions, but its offerings are limited to stocks and ETFs. We prefer brokers that offer clients more investment options and tools.

What is the best Canadian broker for both US and Canadian stocks?

Our testing and feature comparisons found that Questrade offers the best variety of mobile, browser, and desktop platforms. Most investors, from beginners to highly active traders, will find a Questrade platform that suits their needs.

Can you buy US stocks in your TFSA?

Canadian stock investors can buy U.S. stocks in their Tax Free Savings Accounts as long as the stock trades on a “designated” U.S. exchange, a list of which can be found here. Note the designated exchange requirement excludes stocks that trade “over the counter (OTC).” OTC stocks trade between brokers instead of on an exchange.

Our Research

Why you should trust us

Sam Levine, CFA, CMT, the lead writer for StockBrokers.com, has over 30 years of investing experience and actively trades stocks, ETFs, options, futures, and options on futures. He's held roles as a portfolio manager, financial consultant, investment strategist and journalist. He holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and the Chartered Market Technician (CMT) designations and served on the board of directors of the CMT Association.

Blain Reinkensmeyer, head of research at StockBrokers.com, has been investing and trading for over 25 years. After having placed over 2,000 trades in his late teens and early 20s, he became one of the first in digital media to review online brokerages. Blain created the original scoring rubric for StockBrokers.com and oversees all testing and rating methodologies.

For this guide:

  • Whenever possible, we used our own brokerage accounts for testing. For several brokers, we used a test account that was provided to us.
  • We evaluated educational content and research.
  • We tested features, tools, data, and widgets.
  • We compared fees and recurring charges.

How we tested

For this guide to the best online brokers in Canada, we thoroughly tested and/or evaluated key features including the availability and quality of watch lists, charting, real-time and streaming quotes, stock alerts, and educational resources, among other variables. We also look for a fluid user experience moving between mobile and desktop platforms, where offered. In certain circumstances, a demo account was provided by the broker.

StockBrokers.com uses a variety of computing devices to evaluate share trading platforms. Our reviews were conducted using the following devices: iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 15 Pro Max, MacBook Pro M1 with 8 GB RAM running the current MacOS, and a Dell Vostro 5402 laptop i5 with 8 GB RAM running Windows 11 Pro. In testing platforms and apps, our reviewers place actual trades for a variety of instruments.

Trading platforms tested

For this guide, we examined the following brokers:

  • Questrade
  • Interactive Brokers
  • Qtrade Direct Investing
  • TD Direct Investing
  • CIBC Investor’s Edge
  • Wealthsimple

Read next

Explore further guidance on trading in Canada, here and on our sister site, ForexBrokers.com.

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About the Editorial Team

Sam Levine, CFA, CMT
Sam Levine, CFA, CMT

Sam Levine has over 30 years of experience in the investing field as a portfolio manager, financial consultant, investment strategist and writer. He also taught investing as an adjunct professor of finance at Wayne State University. Sam holds the Chartered Financial Analyst and the Chartered Market Technician designations and is pursuing a master's in personal financial planning at the College for Financial Planning. Previously, he was a contributing editor at BetterInvesting Magazine and a contributor to The Penny Hoarder and other media outlets.

Blain Reinkensmeyer
Blain Reinkensmeyer

Blain Reinkensmeyer has 20 years of trading experience with over 2,500 trades placed during that time. He heads research for all U.S.-based brokerages on StockBrokers.com and is respected by executives as the leading expert covering the online broker industry. Blain’s insights have been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and the Chicago Tribune, among other media outlets.

Carolyn Kimball
Carolyn Kimball

Carolyn Kimball is managing editor for Reink Media and the lead editor for the StockBrokers.com Annual Review. Carolyn has more than 20 years of writing and editing experience at major media outlets including NerdWallet, the Los Angeles Times and the San Jose Mercury News. She specializes in coverage of personal financial products and services, wielding her editing skills to clarify complex (some might say befuddling) topics to help consumers make informed decisions about their money.

Steven Hatzakis
Steven Hatzakis

Steven Hatzakis is the Global Director of Research for ForexBrokers.com. Steven previously served as an Editor for Finance Magnates, where he authored over 1,000 published articles about the online finance industry. Steven is an active fintech and crypto industry researcher and advises blockchain companies at the board level. Over the past 20 years, Steven has held numerous positions within the international forex markets, from writing to consulting to serving as a registered commodity futures representative.

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