Trading foreign exchange — exchanging one national currency for another, ideally profiting from the trade — is popular among investors in Canada, where the forex market size is currently at nearly $300 million.
Forex trading is heavily regulated in Canada, which is a plus for consumers, as forex trading in some parts of the world is rife with scams. It follows that the most important factor when choosing a forex broker in Canada is to verify that it’s properly regulated.
To service Canadian residents, online brokerages must be licensed as securities brokers with what is temporarily called New Self Regulatory Organization, or New SRO. New SRO, which was formed in January 2023, consolidates the functions of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization (IIROC) and Mutual Fund Dealers Association (MFDA).
You can search by broker name on this IIROC page to verify it’s properly licensed in Canada. Note that some brokers are regulated under the name of a larger umbrella company; for example, FOREX.com, one of our top picks, is part of the larger StoneX group. Check your broker’s disclosure text to determine its registered name.
This guide ranks the all-around top forex trading platforms in Canada. To make our top picks, we personally tested each broker’s platforms and tools, compared fees, and verified regulatory status. Four clear winners rose to the top.
Best Forex Brokers in Canada
- Excellent overall, best platform technology
FOREX.com stands out for its extensive product offering and very strong platforms and tools, which make it a good fit for traders of varying experience levels. Costs are higher than at some competitors.
CMC Markets - Excellent overall, best platform technology
CMC Markets is our top pick among forex brokers in Canada in 2023. CMC Markets is a reputable and highly regarded brand that is publicly traded (LON: CMCX) and regulated. The broker offers over 12,000 CFDs, a large number of forex pairs, and access to international equity markets. CMC Markets also quotes its 158 currency pairs both ways (not just CAD/USD, but also the inverse USD/CAD quote), doubling the number of CMC Markets’ available pairs.
The broker’s Next Generation web trading platform and mobile app are both impressive. The app is a notable industry standout, with intuitive design, great research options and powerful trading tools, including charts and predefined watch lists.
FOREX.com is a trusted forex broker that shines thanks to its extensive product offering and its excellent platform options and trading tools, which will appeal to forex traders of varying experience levels, as will its strong offering of in-house and third-party market research. It offers more than 80 currency pairs via an impressive suite of proprietary platforms, as well as access to MetaTrader 5 and TradingView’s advanced charting features. FOREX.com’s parent company, StoneX, is publicly traded and licensed in Canada and across the globe. Costs, however, are higher than at some competitors.
Interactive Brokers - Best for professional traders
Global powerhouse Interactive Brokers, or IBKR, is a well-capitalized broker regulated in top jurisdictions worldwide, including Canada. Its desktop platform, Trader Workstation, is an industry standout for its vast array of tools and features, but the learning curve is steep, making it best suited to experienced or professional traders. Those newer to forex trading may do better using its web-based Client Portal or the IBKR mobile app. Interactive Brokers offers over a hundred forex pairs for trading as part of a notably large range of tradable products; note, though, that CFDs are not available for Canadian clients. Commissions are competitive.
AvaTrade is a well-established forex broker that stands out for its educational content and its impressive selection of trading platform options, which includes both MetaTrader 4 and 5. AvaTrade is particularly great for copy trading, also known as social trading, which allows you to copy the real-time forex trades of other live investors. AvaTrade offers more than 50 forex pairs in Canada, where it’s licensed and regulated (under parent name Friedberg Direct), and it offers both spot forex and forex options. Fees are generally in line with the industry average.
Yes, forex trading is legal in Canada. It’s always recommended to choose a broker that is well-regulated and reputable. Brokers must be licensed as securities brokers with what is temporarily called New Self Regulatory Organization, or New SRO, which combined the functions of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization (IIROC) and Mutual Fund Dealers Association (MFDA). Brokers in Canada must also be registered in the province in which they operate. It’s worth noting that regulators in certain jurisdictions – such as the British Columbia Securities Commission – regulate more strictly than others.
Who is the best forex broker in Canada?
Our top pick among forex brokers in Canada for 2023 is CMC Markets. CMC Markets is a widely recognized and reputable brand that is publicly traded (LON: CMCX) and regulated by the New SRO in Canada. CMC Markets offers an extensive range of 12,000+ tradeable investment products on its Next Generation web trading platform and mobile app.
How do I become a forex trader in Canada?
The first step to trading forex is to choose a broker that accepts clients in Canada (see our top recommended brokers above).
Create a live account: Once you’ve chosen a broker, complete its online account application and read through its terms and conditions, which govern the scope of your relationship.
Learn the trading software: If you’re new to forex trading, it’s a good idea to try the broker’s demo, or virtual trading, account to get familiar with the platform (for more on virtual trading, see our guide to the best brokers for paper trading).
Fund with a small amount: To place real trades, you’ll have to fund the account with a deposit method the broker accepts, such as an electronic funds transfer or wire transfer.
Set trading goals: Consider what your overall goals and what you want to get out of trading in detail. Beyond the general desire to make money, being specific will help you articulate your trading approach better and manage risk.
Develop a trading plan: Consider the size of the trades you wish to place, relative to your account balance, and the amount of risk/reward you are targeting per trade, and overall on your account. Create rules to follow that will help keep you on track with your goals.
Identify investment opportunities: Whether by reading headlines, analyzing charts or trading signals, decide how to indentify when to enter the market and planning your exit with a stop-loss (to manage risk) and limit order (to take profit).
Position sizing: Once you have indentified a trade entry and want to execute your first trade, you will need to select a desired trade size that is appropriate for your risk/reward ratio and expected trade duration (it’s always prudent to know what the value of each pip/point is for a given trade size you are considering, so you can measure the risk/reward potential).
Execute a live trade: Once you are ready to place a live trade, you can do so for the desired amount by either clicking “Buy” or the “Ask” price to open a long position, or open a short position by clicking “Sell” or the “Bid” price, depending on your market outlook.
Manage your orders: You will have to get used to monitoring your positions carefully and ensure your stop-loss and limit orders are intact to help manage your risk/reward during the trade duration, or when canceling and replacing orders throughout your trading journey.
Can I trade forex with $100?
Yes, you can get started trading forex with $100; in fact, if you’re a beginner at forex trading, it’s smart to start small, and make sure not to invest more than you can afford to lose. Forex brokers generally offer a range of contract sizes (such as a micro lot), and a $100 investment would allow you to test the waters — and a trading strategy — without outsize risk. Bear in mind that also means the potential payoff will be limited as well. Note also that some forex brokers require a minimum account balance, which may be more than $100.
Do forex traders pay tax in Canada?
Yes, as a forex trader residing in Canada (or Canadian citizen abroad) you’ll be obligated to report your earnings in Canada and pay capital gains taxes on your profits, which must be listed on your tax return. The tax generally applies only to profits of more than $200; gains above that threshold are taxed at 50% of your marginal tax rate. As your specific tax obligation can vary according to other circumstances, it may be smart to consult a tax pro to assist, particularly for more active traders.
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.
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.
Dayana Yochim is a Senior Writer/Editor at Reink Media Group who has written about personal finance and investing for more than 20 years. Her work has appeared in outlets including HerMoney.com, NerdWallet and the Motley Fool, and has been syndicated nationally. Dayana has also been a guest expert on "Today" and Good Morning America.