The Canadian Best Online Trading Platform Revealed
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If you’re in the hunt for the best trading platform in Canada – there are many metrics that you need to explore before signing up. This includes a strong regulatory standing, lots of supported markets, and low fees and commissions.
In this guide, we review the best trading platforms in Canada for 2021.
Best Trading Platforms Canada 2021 List
Below you will find which providers made our list of the best trading platforms in Canada. You can scroll down to read a full review of each platform!
- AvaTrade – Overall Best Trading Platform Canada 2021
- Oanda – Best Trading Platform Canada for Leverage and Low Spreads
- Qtrade – Best Broker Canada for Long-Term Investments
- Questrade – Best Trading Platform Canada for Building a Low-Cost Portfolio
- Interactive Brokers – Best Canadian Online Broker for Seasoned Investors
- TD Direct Investing – Best Trading Platform Canada for Beginners
Best Online Trading Platforms Canada Reviewed
With so many trading platforms available to Canadians, knowing which provider to open an account with can be challenging. As noted above, you need to cover everything from regulation and markets to payments and fees.
To save you countless hours of research, below you will find the very best trading online platforms Canada right now.
1. AvaTrade – Overall Best Trading Platform Canada 2021
We found that AvaTrade is the overall best trading platform in Canada for 2021. The platform – which is home to thousands of assets, is powered by Friedberg Direct. As such, you will initially be required to open an account with Friedberg Direct to get the ball rolling. This does, however, come with various benefits.
For example, AvaTrade – through Friedberg Direct, is a member of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC). It is also a member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF). As such, you can be sure you are trading through a trusted and well-regulated platform.
In terms of supported markets, AvaTrade specializes in forex and CFD trading. Regarding the former, this includes dozens of pairs across the majors, minors, and exotics. You can trade CFDs that track everything from stocks and commodities to indices and options. AvaTrade is also popular with Canadian traders as the platform offers very competitive fees. This includes a commission-free structure that builds all fees into the spread.
On major currency pairs, this is typically less than 1 pip. Once you open an account with AvaTrade, you will have various platforms to choose from. Experienced traders often opt to trade via MT4, albeit, AvaTrade also offers its own native platform. This can be accessed online or through the AvaTrade mobile app. The minimum deposit at this top-rated trading platform is just $100. You can fund your account with a Canadian bank account or debit card.
- Supports MT4/5
- Wide range of tradable instruments
- Educational materials
- Islamic trading account
- ASIC and FSCA regulated
- Does not offer traditional stock ownership – CFDs only
72% of retail CFD accounts lose money with this provider.
2. Oanda - Best Trading Platform Canada for Leverage and Low Spreads
Launched in 1996, Oanda is one of the most established online trading platforms in North America. Saying that, Oanda now has clients from almost 200 countries, resulting in a great reputation in the online brokerage scene. The platform - which is licensed by the Canadian IIROC, gives you access to an extensive range of markets.
This includes heaps of currencies - many of which can be traded against the Canadian dollar. You can also trade CFDs from a variety of asset classes - including indices, metals, commodities, and bonds. Perhaps the one drawback with the Oanda asset library is that it does not cover stocks.
Nevertheless, Oanda stands out for us because of its low trading fee structure. At the forefront of this is industry-leading spreads. For example, you can trade the SPX 500 from just 0.3 points, while the UK 100 and Germany 30 will cost you just 0.8 points and 0.9 points respectively. With that said, Oanda offers two different account types that come with varying commission plans.
One account type offers the most competitive spreads available on Oanda, albeit, you'll need to pay a small commission on each trade. This account is best suited for those trading larger amounts. Alternatively, if you're planning to trade more casually, you might be better opting for the commission-free account. Naturally, the spreads on this account type are slightly higher than the commission-based account.
When it comes to the trading platform itself, Oanda is available online or via the provider's iOS and Android mobile. This top-rated Canadian trading platform is also compatible with MT4. If you like the sound of Oanda, there is no minimum deposit in place. You can fund your account with a debit/credit card or bank wire, albeit, you will need to go through a KYC process first.
- Regulated by the IIROC
- Established in 1996
- Commission-free trading plans available
- Competitive spreads
- Mobile app available on both Android and iOS
- No minimum deposit
- Does not allow you to trade individual stocks
There is no guarantee you will make money with this provider.
3. Qtrade - Best Broker Canada for Long-Term Investments
If you see yourself more as a long-term investor, you'll want a Canada trading platform that offers traditional assets at competitive prices. In this respect, we like the look of Qtrade. This top-rated provider gives you access to a full suite of investment options - including thousands of stocks.
In particular, this trading platform allows you to buy Canadian stocks listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX), TSX Venture Exchange (TSXV), Canadian Securities Exchange (CSE), and the Aequitas NEO Exchange Additionally, if you are looking to diversify into other marketplaces, Qtrade also gives you access to the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and NASDAQ.
With that said, you won't be able to buy stocks listed on European or Asian exchanges, so do bear this in mind. On top of North American stocks, Qtrade also supports hundreds of ETFs and thousands of mutual funds. We also like the fact that Qtrade allows you to purchase Canadian and US bonds - both from the government and corporate sectors.
Qtrade also gives you access to IPOs, which is great for investing in companies that are at the very start of their corporate journey. Options trading is also accessible at this top-rated Canada trading platform. When it comes to fees, this will depend on the asset you are interested in buying.
For example, stocks can be purchased from just $8.75 per trade. This is reduced to $6.95 when you trade more frequently. There are no commissions to pay when you invest in mutual funds and Qtrade offers 100 fee-free ETFs. All over ETFs will cost Bonds are priced at $1 per $1,000 face value, at a minimum and maximum of $24.99 and $250. Options trading is somewhat pricey, at $8.75 per trade plus $1.25 per contract.
When it comes to usability, Qtrade is perfectly suited for retail investors with little experience of online trading. In terms of account types, you choose from a cash account, margin account, RRSP account, and TFSA account. Finally, there is no minimum deposit policy in place at Qtrade, so you can get started with as little as you like.
- Huge library of traditional investment assets
- Choose from stocks, mutual funds, bonds, and more
- Access to IPOs
- Low investment fees
- Simple to use platform
- Great reputation in Canada
- Options trading is expensive
There is no guarantee you will make money with this provider.
4. Questrade - Best Trading Platform Canada for Building a Low-Cost Portfolio
Questrade is one of the best trading platforms in Canada for building a self-directed portfolio of assets in a low-cost and burden-free environment. As soon as you head over to the provider's website, you can see that it's aimed at casual investors that are potentially new to the online trading scene.
There are two main offerings at Questrade. Firstly, it's self-directed investing account allows you to buy and sell stocks on a do-it-yourself basis. This main centres on Canadian and US-listed companies. The fees applicable are 1 cent per share, at a minimum and maximum of $4.95 and $9.95.
Although Questrade also gives you access to international equities, you'll need to pay an additional fee of 1%. This comes with a minimum investment of $195 per trade. The self-directed account also allows you to buy ETFs and options. You can also access IPOs and new issues via Questrade, but this comes with a high minimum investment of $5,000.
The second option that you have at Questrade is to invest in pre-build ETF portfolios. This allows you to invest in a ready-made basket of funds based on your financial goals and attitude to risk. This comes with an annual maintenance fee of 0.25%. You can reduce this fee to 0.20%, but you'd need to have at least $100,00 invested.
- Great investment platform for newbies
- Low trading and investment fees
- Self-directed investing and pre-built portfolios
- Easy to use platform
- Perfect for long-term investment plans
- Interntional stock purchases are pricey
There is no guarantee you will make money with this provider.
5. Interactive Brokers - Best Canadian Online Broker for Seasoned Investors
Interactive Brokers is possibly the best trading platform in Canada for experienced investors. This established and trusted provider gives you access to a huge library of financial markets. This covers assets for both short-term traders and long-term investors. For example, you can invest in stocks from over 135 markets.
This allows you to build a highly diversified portfolio of Canadian and international equities. Other long-term investments available to Canadians include mutual funds, ETFs, and bonds. If, however, you're more of a day trader, Interactive Brokers also has you covered. This covers everything from currencies and options to futures and commodities.
Perhaps the main drawback with Interactive Brokers is that its pricing structure is overly complicated. Not only will your trading fees depend on the account type you opt for, but the specific asset and marketplace. Nevertheless, to give you an idea on what you are likely to pay, the fixed-rate account allows you to buy Canadian-listed stocks at $0.01 per share, at a minimum of $1. US-listed stocks are even more competitive at $0.005 per share, also at a minimum of $1.
There are no transaction fees to invest in ETFs, but you will need to pay the respective expense ratio charged by the provider. As a platform more suited for seasoned pros, the Interactive Brokers website comes jam-packed with advanced trading tools and features. This includes in-depth chart reading and drawing tools, market insights, and financial analysis.
- Huge library of traditional stocks, index funds, and ETFs
- Really advanced trading features and charting analysis tools
- More than 135 markets across 33 countries
- Trade CFDs, futures, options, forex, and more
- No minimum deposit
- Not suitable for newbie investors
- Fee structure is a bit confusing
Your capital is at risk.
6. TD Direct Investing - Best Trading Platform Canada for Beginners
If you're looking for the best trading platform in Canada for beginners, it might be worth checking out TD Direct Investing. Launched back in 1984, this user-friendly platform is great for newbies looking to access the financial markets for the first time.
In fact, there are a variety of beginner-friendly tools offered by TD Direct Investing that can ease the trading process for you. For example, its Goal Assist plan allows you to set realistic long-term investment objectives. This might be based on specific assets, time, or risk.
This plan allows you to invest at your own pace and there are no minimums in place. This is great if you want to start off slowly. In terms of tradable markets, TD Direct Investing has a strong focus on US and Canadian-listed stocks, ETFs, and mutual funds. Trading fees will depend on whether you have a Standard or Active Trader account.
The former comes with a flat rate of $9.99 per trade. The Active Trader account reduced this fee to $7 per trade. You will, however, need to place at least 150 trades per quarter. With this in mind, if you are planning to invest regularly and at larger volumes, TD Direct Investing is a bit pricey.
On the other hand, if you are only planning to buy a few stocks and ETFs throughout the quarter, the $9.99 per trade commission is reasonable. When it comes to research tools, TD Direct Investing offers some useful materials that can aid your investment decision-making process. This includes stock screeners, pricing charts, and market insights.
- Good trading platform for beginners
- Invest in stocks, ETFs, and funds
- Commission of $9.99 per trade
- Lots of tools to help newbies
- No account minimums
- Top-rated customer support
- Commission strcutre not viable for frequent traders
Your capital is at risk.
How to Choose the Best Canadian Online Broker for You
As we have discussed extensively in our reviews of the best trading platforms Canada, there's a lot to consider when finding a provider that meets your needs.
For example, some trading platforms give you access to thousands of marketplaces but might be on the high side in terms of pricing. You then have platforms that offer really competitive fees but are somewhat limited in the asset class department.
As such, you need to do a fair bit of homework before deciding which trading platform is right for you. To help you along the way, below we discuss the most important metrics to consider in your search for the best trading platform in Canada.
The financial markets are heavily regulated in Canada. As such, online brokers and trading platforms must have the legal remit to accept Canadian investors.
As you might have noticed from our reviews, all of the trading platforms that we have discussed today are authorized by the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC).
So why is this important? Well, trading platforms that are licensed by the IIROC must follow a set of rules that are in place to keep you and your investments safe.
For example, you will be covered by the Canadian Investor Protection Fund, should the trading platform in question become insolvent. This covers your investment funds up to the first $1 million. As such, as long as you do not have more than $1 million invested at a single platform, you are covered.
In addition to this, all IIROC trading platforms must verify the identity of all account holders. This is to keep financial crime away from the platform and ultimately - keep you and your fellow investors safe.
The best trading brokers in Canada that we have reviewed on this page typically offer a variety of asset classes. However, while some providers give you access to a wide range of markets, others focus on specific assets like stocks and ETFs.
The most important thing is that you assess whether you are looking to trade on a short-term basis (e.g. day trading or swing trading) or create a long-term investment plan. If it's the former, then you will need to choose a trading platform that offers forex and/or CFDs. This will allow you to benefit from low fees and spreads, leverage, and short-selling capabilities.
Alternatively, if you're looking to create a long-term buy and hold investment plan, then you'll want access to traditional assets like stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, and bonds. Additionally, it's worth exploring whether or not your chosen trading platform offers ready-made investment portfolios or robo advisor services - especially if you have little to no experience in this marketplace.
Understanding what fees your chosen trading platform charges can be challenging. As we discussed earlier, fees can vary wildly depending on your chosen asset class and account type.
As fees are super important when choosing a trading platform in Canada, below we elaborate on what to look out for before taking the plunge.
Dealing Fee / Commission
When you buy, sell, or trade an asset - there is every likelihood that you will need to pay a fee. In the vast majority of cases, buying traditional assets like stocks, ETFs, or mutual funds come with a flat fee.
- For example, top-rated Canada trading platform Qtrade charges a flat fee of $8.75.
- This means that you will be $8.75 when you buy a stock and again when you cash out.
- This flat fee system is arguably more suited to those trading larger amounts.
- For example, if you invested just $100 into your chosen stock, a fee of $8.75 would equate to a commission of 8.75%.
- This means that you'd need to make gains of at least $8.75 just to get your initial investment back.
On the other hand, if you plan to trade CFDs or forex via a short-term strategy, you will likely be charged a variable commission. For example, one of the trading platforms in Canada that we came across charges 0.10% per trade on forex positions.
This means that a $100 trade would cost you just $0.10. Be careful to keep an eye on minimum commissions, though. For example, your chosen platform might offer a low percentage commission but then require a minimum fee of $10 per trade.
We found that the best trading platform in Canada for low fees is AvaTrade. This popular provider charges no commission at all, and spreads are very competitive.
Spreads are often overlooked by newbie traders in Canada, as it's not a 'direct fee' per-say. On the contrary, the spread is the difference between the buy and sell price of each asset available on the trading platform.
In the case of forex, this is expressed in terms of 'pips'. For example, AvaTrade offers spreads of less than 1-2 pips on most of its major forex pairs.
In other cases, the trading platform will express the spread in percentage terms. For example, if the spread on a stock CFD is 0.5%, you'd need to make gains of at least 0.5% to break even.
We find that the best trading online brokers Canada are transparent on what spreads they charge. If not, you'd need to calculate this yourself every time you trade - which is nothing short of cumbersome.
There are several other trading fees that you might be exposed to at your chosen investment platform.
- Maintenance Fees: Some platforms in Canada charge an annual maintenance fee. This is often the case when investing in ready-made portfolios or robo advisor services. This is usually charged as a percentage against the total amount you have invested at the platform.
- Overnight Financing: If trading leveraged CFDs or forex, you will always need to pay an overnight financing fee. This is a daily fee that is charged when you keep your position open past a specific time. For example, the overnight financing fee might kick in at 10 pm, meaning you can only avoidable if you exit the trade before this time.
- Deposit/Withdrawal Fees: Some trading platforms in Canada charge fees on deposits and withdrawals. This can also vary depending on your chosen payment method.
Trading Tools & Features
The best online trading platforms Canada that we came across during the review process offer a number of notable trading tools and features.
Some of our favourites are listed below:
If you have limited access to trading capital, it might be worth using a trading platform that offers leverage. In-line with domestic regulations, the likes of AvaTrade and Oanda allow you to trade forex with leverage of up to 1:50.
In simple terms, this means that a $250 account balance would permit a maximum trade value of $12,500. If trading other asset classes, your leverage limits will be lowered.
For example, Oanda offers a maximum of 1:5 on silver and 1:4 on the Hong Kong index. With that said, if you're classed as a professional client, you'll likely be able to get much higher leverage limits at your chosen trading platform.
MT4 Robot Intergration
Some of the best trading platforms in Canada offer support for third-party platform MT4. This comes with several benefits - such as having access to advanced charting tools and technical indicators. Perhaps even more notable is the fact that MT4 allows you to install an automated trading robot. Once installed, the robot will trade on your behalf in a fully automated manner.
If you're looking to invest in stocks but you don't want to risk large amounts of capital, stick with a trading platform that offers fractional shares. In simple terms, this means that your chosen platform will allow you to buy a 'fraction' of one share.
- For example, let's suppose that you are interested in buying Google stocks, but you don't want to fork out $2,000 on a single share.
- Instead, you want to invest just $20.
- In doing so, you would own 1% of a single Google stock.
The best thing about trading platforms in Canada that offer fractional shares is that you will be still be entitled to dividends.
Research tools are crucial in making solid and rational trading decisions. This usually comes in two forms - technical analysis and fundamental research.
Regarding the former, if you're planning to day trade or swing trade, then you'll want to choose a provider that gives you access to real-time pricing charts. The best brokers in Canada that we came across offer dozens of technical indicators, drawing tools, and customizable time-frames.
In the case of fundamental research, we like trading platforms that offer market insights and real-time news. If you're planning to invest in stocks, then opt for a trading platform that provides company reports and screeners.
If you're a complete newbie and you're looking to invest for the first time - stick with a provider that offers educational tools. One of the best trading platforms Canada that we came across for this purpose is Oanda.
The provider offers an extensive educational department that walks you through the basics of price charts, pips, and order types. Oanda also offers guidance and tips on learning technical and fundamental analysis, as well as assistance on capital management and preservation.
Demo accounts are a crucial tool to have your disposal - irrespective of your skillset. For example, seasoned traders swear by demo accounts as they allow them to try out new strategies without needing to risk any capital.
After all, the financial markets are ever-evolving, so experienced traders are always looking at new ways to stay ahead of the curve.
With that said, demo accounts offered by the best onlline trading platforms Canada are especially useful for newbies. This will not only allow you to test out the user experience of the platform but to get to grips with how online trading works.
AvaTrade, for example, offers a demo account that mirrors live market conditions. You'll instantly get a paper trading balance of $100,000 - which is more than enough to learn the ropes of trading in a risk-free einviomrent.
It's important that you choose an investment provider that is easy on the eye. By this, we mean that the end-to-end user experience should be suitable for your respective skill set. For example, if you're a newbie, the process of opening an account, depositing funds, and finding your preferred market should be simple.
Additionally, the process of placing buy/sell and risk-management orders should be seamless. At the other end of the spectrum, we found that platforms like Interactive Brokers are best suited for those with more experience in the trading scene.
In other words, if you're a beginner, you might find the platform a bit overwhelming - purely because it packed with advanced tools and features.
The overall user experience is not only applicable to the main platform website. On the contrary, if you're planning to trade via the platform's mobile app - you need to ensure that offers good functionality. By this, we mean that the app should be fully optimized for your operating system and the trading experience should not be hindered by a smaller screen.
In your search for the best trading platform Canada, it's important that you consider how you plan on depositing funds. After all, in order to trade with real money, you will first need to fund your account.
The best brokers Canada allow you to deposit funds instantly with a debit or credit card. When you get around to cashing out, the funds can be withdrawn to the same payment card.
A lot of trading platforms in Canada only supported domestic bank transfers, which can be cumbersome. This is because you will need to manually transfer the funds from your online banking platform and then wait several days for the cash to arrive.
In a time not so long ago, customer service in the online trading space was limited to a support form or email. This is still the case with some providers. However, the best online trading platforms Canada will offer a live chat facility.
This allows you to speak with an advisor in real-time - directly through the provider's website or mobile app. If your chosen trading platform is physically based in Canada, then you will likely have access to a local toll number.
How to Start Trading with the Best Trading Platform Canada
You should now have all of the information required to find the best trading platform in Canada for your needs. If so, it's now time to get the ball rolling by opening an account with the provider in question.
If this is your first time trading online, we are going to walk you through the process with our top-rated platform - AvaTrade.
Step 1: Open an Account
Head over to the AvaTrade website and click on the 'Register' button. You will then be redirected to the Friedberg Direct website to complete the account opening process.
As you will see after being redirected, there are a few requirements to be able to open an account with AvaTrade via Friedberg Direct.
- Maximum risk/loss limit of $5,000
- Be earning at least $25,000 in your place of employment
- Have minimum savings of $25,000
If you meet the above requirements, proceed to fill out the application form.
This will require:
- First and last name
- Home address in Canada
- Date of birth
- Social security number
- Email address
- Mobile number
This information is collected by the platform to ensure it remains complaint with the IIROC.
Step 2: KYC
An additional part of the rigorous account opening process is to upload some verification documents. Once again, this is a requirement of the IIROC and it keeps you and your fellow investors safe from financial crime.
The documents you need to upload are as follows:
- Photo ID - passport or driver's license
- Proof of Residence - utility bill, tax document, etc.
- Client Acknowledgement Form
The platform notes that the above documents will usually be verified in 1-2 working days.
Step 3: Deposit Funds
Once you have had your account verified, you can then make a deposit.
You can choose from a debit/credit card or bank wire. The former is optimal, as it should be processed and credited to your account instantly.
Step 4: Choose AvaTrade Trading Platform
At this stage of the walkthrough, you should now have a registered account that is funded. If so, you are ready to start trading! But first, you need to decide which trading platform you wish to use on AvaTrade.
If you want to keep things simple, you can trade directly from the AvaTrade website. This means that there is no requirement to download any software. You can also trade via the AvaTrade app.
Alternatively, if you want to trade via MT4, proceed to download the software to your desktop device. Then, it's just a case of logging into MT4 with your AvaTrade account details.
Step 5: Place Trade
Irrespective of whether you trade via the AvaTrade website or MT4 - you can find your preferred market by using the search box. For example, if you wanted to trade gold CFDs, simply enter 'gold' into the search box. Alternatively, you can use the filter function by clicking on the respective asset class - such as indices or commodities.
Once you have found an asset that you wish to trade, choose from a buy or sell order. This determines whether you think the asset will rise (buy order) or fall (sell order) in value. You should also enter your stake and leverage limit - should you wish to.
Although not compulsory, it's also advisable to set up a stop-loss and take-profit order. This will limit your potential losses and lock in gains automatically - thus ensuring that you trade in a risk-averse manner.
Finally, confirm your order and AvaTrade will execute your trade in a matter of milliseconds!
Best Trading Platform Canada - Conclusion
This guide has discussed everything there is to know about finding the best trading platform in Canada for you and your financial goals. We've covered the importance of sticking with platforms that are regulated by the IIROC, and ones that offer heaps of markets and competitive fees.
Our in-depth research process concluded that AvaTrade is the best trading platform in Canada to consider in 2021. The platform allows you to trade an extensive range of forex and CFD markets on a commission-free basis. Spreads are tight AvaTrade, you'll have access to lots of tools and features, and of course - the provider is authorized by the IIROC via Friedberg Direct
eToro - Best Trading Platform Canada with 0% Commission
72% of retail CFD accounts lose money with this provider.
How does a GIC work in Canada?
A guaranteed investment certificate - or simply GIC, allows you to earn interest on your savings by agreeing to lend the money to a financial institution for a set period of time. .
What is the best Canadian online broker?
We found that the best Canadain online broker in 2021 is AvaTrade. The provider allows you to trade forex, commodities, indices, and more - all on a commission-free and tight spread basis.
What is the best broker Canada for buying stocks?
If you are looking to invest in stocks via a long-term trading plan, we found that Oanda is the best broker Canada for this purpose. You'll have access to heaps of equities at great prices when using this platform.
Are the best online trading platforms Canada safe?
Yes, the best online trading platforms Canada are safe - on the proviso that they are authorized by the IIROC. If the platform is covered by the Canadian Investor Protection Fund, then your money is protected up tot he first $1 million in the case of insolvency.
How much leverage do the best trading platforms Canada offer?
The best Canadian online brokers will offer leverage of up to 1:50 - as per domestic regulations. This is the case for major forex trading pairs, so you will likely get less on other asset classes.
What are the best brokers Canada for mobile trading?
Most of the best brokers Canada that we have discussed today allow you to trade on a native mobile app that is compatible with iOS and Android. This includes AvaTrade, Oanda, and TD Direct Investing.
What are the best online brokers Canada for low fees?
If you're looking for the best trading platforms Canada for low fees, AvaTrade offers commission-free trading. If, however, you want access to traditional stocks and ETFs, Oanda is one of the best trading platforms Canada for this purpose.