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Best Canadian Brokers for Stock Trading

Blain Reinkensmeyer

Written by Blain Reinkensmeyer
Edited by Carolyn Kimball
Fact-checked by Sam Levine

Last updated September 26, 2022
Published January 10, 2022

The StockBrokers.com best online brokers 2022 review, our 12th annual, took three months to complete and produced over 40,000 words of research. Here's how we tested. Our editorial content is independent and unbiased; here's how we make money.

Canadian citizens looking to invest online in the stock market have a variety of options. Online brokers come in different flavors, from deep discount to full service, while others are known for their trading tools or research.

When it comes to investing in Canada, the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) is most often cited because it is the 11th largest in the world, with more than $3 trillion in total assets. In most cases, Canadians also have easy access to trading securities on both the NYSE and NASDAQ exchanges in the United States, which are the largest and second largest in the world, respectively.

Canada's Best Online Brokers 2022

Here are the top brokers for trading stocks in Canada.

  • Questrade
    - 4.5 Stars - Best Overall
  • Qtrade Direct Investing - 4.5 Stars - Best for Research
  • Interactive Brokers
    - 4.5 Stars - Best for Professionals
  • TD Direct Investing - 4 Stars - Diverse Trading Tools
  • CIBC Investor’s Edge - 4 Stars - Transparent Fees
  • Wealthsimple - 3.5 Stars - Best for Low Costs
Questrade
starstarstarstarstar_border Overall

Best Overall

$.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.

Qtrade Direct Investing
starstarstarstarstar_border Overall

Best for Research

$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.

Interactive Brokers
starstarstarstarstar_border Overall

Best for Professionals

$0.005 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

TD Direct Investing
starstarstarstarstar_border Overall

Diverse Trading Tools

$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
starstarstarstarstar_border Overall

Transparent Fees

$6.95 per 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
starstarstarstar_borderstar_border Overall

Best for Low Costs

$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

Stock trading in Canada

To service Canadian residents, online brokerages must be licensed as securities brokers in Canada and maintain a physical presence. The brokers we found that meet these requirements include (in alphabetical order): BMO InvestorLine, CIBC Investor's Edge, HSBC InvestDirect, Interactive Brokers, National Bank, Qtrade Direct Investing, Questrade, RBC Direct Investing, Scotia iTRADE, TD Direct Investing, Virtual Brokers and Wealthsimple.

Herein we will break down the best online brokers available to Canadian residents looking to trade stocks online in Canada and the United States.

Best Canadian online trading platforms

Here are screenshots of the trading platforms for Questrade, Qtrade, and Interactive Brokers.

Trading differences: Canada versus the United States

Trading stocks online in Canada is similar in many ways to trading as a U.S. resident in the United States. Canadian investors fund an account, make a deposit, then place trades through a web or desktop platform, manage a watch list, and conduct research, just as U.S. investors do.

USA vs Canada flags

However, there are several important considerations of which Canadian investors should be aware before selecting a broker in Canada, considerations that are not a concern in the U.S.

  1. Annual fees – In the U.S., it is very rare to see an online broker charge annual fees (also listed as inactivity fees or maintenance fees), whereas in Canada every broker does. Questrade is the best in this area, as only $1,000 across all accounts is required to avoid an annual fee. In contrast, for example, Scotia iTRADE, HSBC, BMO InvestorLine, and CIBC Investor’s Edge all require at least $25,000 for RRSP accounts ($10,000 for non-registered accounts) to avoid paying an annual fee.
  2. Mobile app availability – While every online brokerage offers a mobile app in the U.S., in Canada not every broker does, and the quality can be dramatically different as far as features go. Several of the largest Canadian banks, including HSBC and National Bank, do not offer clients a separate downloadable app for mobile trading at all.
  3. Trading tools and platforms – The larger Canadian brokers do a good job with stock research, thanks to their use of popular third-party providers such as Morningstar and Trading Central (Recognia), which are also widely used in the United States. However, actual trading tools and platforms can vary significantly among brokers.
  4. Order types – Market orders, limit hours, and stop orders are standard across the industry. However, trading U.S. stocks from Canada can vary from broker to broker in terms of what is available. This includes after-hours trading. Advanced order types, such as conditional orders, will also vary from broker to broker.
  5. Banking services – Banks that offer online trading in the U.S. (for example, Merrill Edge through Bank of America) provide a seamless client experience. Moving money between accounts, changing between bank and brokerage accounts through one login, tax reporting, and similar functionality are all expected to be present as part of the holistic trading experience. This also flows into in-person service at a local branch office. In Canada, the client experience can vary significantly from bank to bank.

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.

Canada flag

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. Are you opening a taxable account or a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP)? If you are starting with a regular account, as many investors do, then at least take the time to explore the broker’s RRSP offering. In particular, check the minimum account balance (or minimum trade activity) requirement to avoid annual fees, which vary by broker. This way, you won’t be surprised when you go to open an RRSP account later.
  • Does the broker offer commission-free ETFs? Exchange traded funds (ETFs) have soared in popularity over the past decade. Thousands of ETFs are available to buy, and many providers – BlackRock iShares, Vanguard, and State Street Global Advisors' SPDR are the three largest issuers – now partner with brokerages to make their ETFs commission free to customers. Questrade, Qtrade Direct Investing, National Bank, and Scotia iTRADE all offer them. Our research determined that Questrade has the best all-around offering of commission-free ETFs.
  • 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 complex options, forex, or futures, you will need to do your research ahead of time.
  • For active traders, 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. For seasoned traders, Interactive Brokers is king, thanks to its ultra-low trading costs and excellent trader tools.
  • Customer service. When contacting a brokerage for account-related inquiries, all investors look for fast connection times and helpful representatives to assist them. Like all businesses, support quality and timeliness can vary. 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.
  • Account security. Is two-factor login available? What is the broker’s security policy? How are your assets protected and secured on an ongoing basis?

Which bank is best for stock trading in Canada?

Many Canadian banks offer customers the ability to buy and sell shares of stock. However, the costs to trade are almost always more expensive than using a stand-alone discount online broker such as Questrade or Qtrade Direct Investing. In addition, stand-alone brokerages offer more comprehensive research and better trading tools. All in all, besides the convenience factor, we do not recommend Canadians use their bank to invest in stocks.

What is the best stock trading website for beginners in Canada?

Questrade is the best Canadian online broker for beginners. Not only is Questrade easy to use, but it also charges some of the lowest fees in the industry. Questrade is available to all residents of Canada, and charges equity traders $.01 per share, with a $4.95 minimum and $9.95 maximum per trade.

Do any Canadian stockbrokers offer forex trading?

Yes. Interactive Brokers is regulated and offers forex trading to residents of Canada. For a full list of regulated forex brokers, read our guide to the Best Canadian Forex Brokers on our sister site, ForexBrokers.com.

Are online stock brokers safe?

When buying and selling shares of stocks as a Canadian, it is crucial to use a regulated online broker. The two major regulators in Canada are the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) and the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF). Canadian brokers like Questrade and Qtrade Direct Investing are properly regulated, which protects investors in the case of fraud or bankruptcy.

What does a broker do?

Your online broker acts as an intermediary, connecting you to the stock market. When you use an online broker to buy and sell shares of stock, the broker routes your orders a market center to be filled, and you receive the shares. Your brokerage account is where the shares of all the companies you own are held until you are ready to sell.

Best Canadian Brokers Summary

Canadian Online Broker Best For Commission Overall Rating
Questrade Best Overall $.01 per share 4.5 Stars
Qtrade Direct Investing Best for Research $8.75 4.5 Stars
Interactive Brokers Best for Professionals $.005 per share 4.5 Stars
TD Direct Investing Diverse Trading Tools $9.99 4 Stars
CIBC Investor's Edge Transparent Fees $6.95 4 Stars
Wealthsimple Low Costs $0 3.5 Stars

Read Next

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

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About the Author

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.


Sam Levine
Sam Levine

Sam Levine is a longtime writer, investor and educator with nearly three decades of experience in the investing industry. His specialty is making even the most complicated investing concepts easy to understand for beginning and intermediate investors. He holds two of the most widely recognized certifications in the investment management industry, the Chartered Financial Analyst and the Chartered Market Technician designations. Previously, he was a contributing editor at BetterInvesting Magazine and a contributor to The Penny Hoarder and other media outlets.


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