Best Online Stock Brokers in Canada For Beginners in 2022

Investing in the stock markets and watching your portfolio grow over the years is a time-tested strategy for increasing your net worth.

Using the best online stock brokers in Canada can help you reach your goals faster, with lower investment fees, great tools, and full control over your investment portfolio.

Just starting to invest? This stock broker comparison guide covers the best online stock brokers in Canada for beginners, including how they work and their pros and cons.

Best Online Stock Brokers in Canada for 2022

Our top picks for Canadian online brokers in 2022:

  • Questrade: Best for Trading Tools
  • Wealthsimple Trade: Best for Free Stock Trading
  • Qtrade: Best for customer support
  • CIBC Investor’s Edge: Best Bank Broker For Fees
  • TD Direct Investing:  Best Broker For Research

Alongside these brokers, we have also featured the following stock trading platforms:

  • BMO InvestorLine
  • Scotia iTrade
  • Interactive Brokers
  • RBC Direct Investing
  • Desjardins Online Brokerage

Compare the Best Online Brokers in Canada

QtradeQuestradeWealthsimple TradeCIBC Investor’s Edge
Commission-free tradingYes (105 ETFs)Free ETF purchasesETFs and stocksNo
Trading fees (stocks)$8.75/trade$4.95 – $9.95/trade$0/trade$6.95/trade
Minimum investmentNone$1,000NoneNone
Mobile trading appYesYesYesYes
Account typesRRSP, TFSA, RESP, non-registered, corporate, etc.RRSP, TFSA, RESP, non-registered, corporate, etc.RRSP, TFSA, personal non-registeredRRSP, TFSA, RESP, non-registered, etc.
Investment productsStocks, options, ETFs, bonds, GICs, mutual fundsStocks, ETFs, options, bonds, FX, GICs, mutual fundsStocks and ETFsStocks, ETFs, bonds, options, GICs, mutual funds
Inactivity fee$25 quarterly if balance <$25,000NoneNone$100/year for account <$10,000 – $25,000
Advanced trading toolsYesYesNoYes
PromotionSome free trades with a funded new account$50 trade credit with $1,000 deposit$25 cash when you deposit $150N/A

1. Best Broker For Trading Tools: Questrade

Questrade is a top online stock broker for commission-free ETFs and options. It is also one of the best trading platforms if you need access to technical analysis tools.

Founded in 1999, this broker now manages over $30 billion in assets and is a 10X winner of Canada’s Best Managed Companies award.

You can use Questrade to trade stocks, ETFs, foreign exchange, options, mutual funds, precious metals, GICs, and even contracts for difference (CFDs).

These assets can be held in TFSA, RRSP, margin, cash, RESP, LRSP, RRIF, LIF corporate, partnership, trust, and investment club accounts.

It offers a variety of trading platforms depending on your needs including a standard web interface and mobile apps. For advanced trading, you can use Questrade Edge, and for FOREX and CFD Trades, the Questrade Global platform is top-rated.

This broker has multiple order types, market data packages, and you can customize your trading workspace.

Fees: The standard trading commission on Questrade ranges between $4.95 and $9.95. ETF purchases are free.

Promotion: Get a $50 trade credit when you open an account and fund with at least $1,000.

Transfer fees are rebated up to $150.

Questrade Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • No account inactivity fee
  • Robust trading tools
  • Offers instant deposits
  • Demo account available
  • Multiple trading platforms
  • Free ETF purchases

Cons:

  • Stock trading is not commission-free
  • $1,000 minimum balance

Questrade

questrade logo

Trade stocks, ETFs, options, etc.

Low and competitive trading fees

Top platform for advanced traders

Get $50 trade credit with $1,000 funding

2. Best Broker For Free Stock Trading: Wealthsimple Trade

Wealthsimple Trade is the top online stock broker for beginners who want to save on trading commissions.

This trading platform is owned by Canada’s largest robo-advisor, and it has more than 1.5 million customers across its products.

Wealthsimple Trade only offers stocks and ETFs and you can hold these products in a TFSA, RRSP, or non-registered personal account.

It is also available on all devices and recently started offering USD accounts for a fee.

Fees: Stocks and ETFs can be bought and sold commission-free. If you make USD trades, you can avoid the FX conversion fee by subscribing to Trade Plus for $10/month. This optional upgrade also increases your instant deposits to $5,000 and you get unlimited price alerts.

Promotion: Get a $25 cash bonus when you open an account and deposit at least $150.

Transfer fees are rebated up to $150 when you transfer $5,000 or more to Wealthsimple Trade.

Wealthsimple Trade Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Commission-free stock trading
  • No account minimum or inactivity fee
  • Offers instant deposits
  • Welcome bonus offer for new clients
  • Available on multiple devices
  • Can also be used to trade cryptocurrency

Cons:

  • USD accounts require a monthly subscription
  • Does not support options, bonds, and mutual funds,

Wealthsimple Trade

wealthsimple logo

Trade stocks and ETFs for free

Best trading platform for beginners

Deposit $150 to get a $25 cash bonus

Transfer fees waived up to $150

Best Broker For Customer Support: Qtrade

Qtrade is regarded as one of Canada’s best brokerage platforms. And, when you are a beginner or veteran investor looking for top-of-the-line customer service, this online broker shines.

You can use Qtrade to trade all the popular investment products including stocks, Exchange-Trade Funds (ETFs), bonds, mutual funds, Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs), options, and new issues.

These assets can be held in both registered (TFSA, RRSP, RESP, etc.) and non-registered investment accounts.

Since there is no minimum amount, you can begin investing with any balance.

For trading tools, Qtrade offers screening tools, technical research, fundamental research, real-time quotes, and more.

Fees: The standard trading fee or commission is $8.75 per transaction. Active traders get a discount at $6.95/trade. All clients get 100+ ETFs they can buy and sell for free.

Promotion: Until August 31, 2022, you could qualify for up to 50 free trades when you open an account and fund it (terms apply).

Transfer fees are rebated up to $150 when you transfer $15,000 or more to Qtrade.

Qtrade Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Excellent customer service
  • 105 commission-free ETFs
  • CAD and USD accounts are available
  • Good sign-up bonus
  • Desktop and mobile trading platforms

Cons

  • Stock trading is not commission-free
  • $25 quarterly account fee if balance <$25,000

Qtrade

qtrade logo 2

Trade stocks, ETFs, options, etc.

Competitive trading fees

Excellent customer service

Some free trades for eligible accounts

4. Best Bank Online Broker For Fees: CIBC Investor’s Edge

CIBC Investor’s Edge is the online stock brokerage service offered by one of Canada’s largest banks, CIBC.

It supports several investment products including stocks, ETFs, options, mutual funds, GICs, and precious metal certificates.

You can hold these investments in personal and business non-registered accounts, as well as the popular registered accounts (TFSA, RRSP, RESP, RRIF, RRIF, LRSP, LRIF, and LIRA).

There is no minimum balance to invest and for trading tools, you get access to real-time data, watchlists, screeners, technical analysis, and advanced charting tools.

CIBC Investor’s Edge is available on both desktop and mobile devices.

Fees: The standard trading commission is $6.95 per trade. Active traders get a discount at $4.95/trade.

Promotion: CIBC does not appear to offer a sign-up bonus at this time.

CIBC Investor’s Edge Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Competitive trading fees
  • Owned by a reputable bank
  • Offers multiple investment products and accounts

Cons:

  • Stocks and ETFs are not commission-free
  • $100 annual fee if your balance is less than $10,000 or $25,000 depending on the type

5. Best Broker For Research: TD Direct Investing

TD Direct Investing was founded in 1984 and it is the oldest online broker in Canada, following the establishment of Web Broker in 1996.

You can use this trading platform to buy and sell stocks, options, mutual funds, bonds, GICs, and ETFs.

For trading accounts, it offers both registered and non-registered accounts.

Experienced investors can benefit from the diversity of trading platforms offered by TD, including an Advanced Dashboard and access to thinkorswim for U.S. stocks and options.

You also get access to exclusive research reports and online educational resources.

Fees: The trading commission for stocks is $9.99 per trade (one of the highest in Canada). Active traders pay $7.00/trade.

Transfer fees are waived up to $150 when you transfer $25,000 or more to TD.

TD Direct Investing Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Owned by a big bank
  • Offers multiple accounts and investment products
  • Robust trading platforms
  • Canada’s largest online broker.

Cons

  • Expensive trading fees at $9.99/trade
  • $25 quarterly fee for small accounts
  • No commission-free stock or ETFs

Learn more in this review.

6. BMO InvestorLine

BMO InvestorLine is owned by the Bank of Montreal.

If you are looking at opening a brokerage account with a top-5 Canadian bank, this platform is an option (although not the cheapest).

You can invest in stocks, options, ETFs, bonds, GICs, and mutual funds, and these can be held in registered and non-registered accounts. Corporate accounts are also offered.

Fees: There is a flat $9.95 fee per trade for stocks and ETFs: Up to 80 ETFs are available commission-free if you meet the eligibility requirements.

Cons:

  • Expensive trading fees
  • $25 quarterly fee for small accounts
  • Poorly-rated mobile app and Android users

BMO also offers adviceDirect, a self-directed trading platform that includes personalized advice and support. You need a minimum of $10,000 to open an account.

Learn more in this BMO Investorline review.

7. Scotia iTrade

Scotia iTrade is the online stock brokerage for Scotiabank. You can use it to buy and sell stocks, ETFs, options, bonds, mutual funds, and GICs.

Scotia iTrade account types include RRSP, TFSA, RESP, RRIF, margin, and cash accounts.

For trading platforms, you can use the Scotia iTrade mobile app or the more advanced Scotia iTrade FlightDesk platform.

Fees: The trading commission is $9.99 per trade. Active traders get a discount at $4.99/trade stocks and ETFs.

Cons:

  • Expensive trading fees
  • $25 quarterly fee for small accounts (<$10,000)

Learn more in this Scotia iTrade review.

8. Interactive Brokers Canada

Interactive Brokers Canada (IBKR) was established in 2000. It is a part of the Interactive Brokers Group which offers brokerage services in over 100 countries.

This trading platform is excellent for day traders and it can be used for all the main investment products, including foreign currencies.

IBKR has several trading platforms, including APIs for custom trading applications.

Fees: Interactive Brokers has a complex fee schedule, but overall, it is cheaper than brokers like TD Direct Investing or BMO InvestorLine. You could pay up to $0.01 CAD per share for Canadian stocks and $0.005 USD/share for U.S. stocks.

Cons:

  • Not very user-friendly for beginners
  • No commission-free trades for stocks or ETFs

Learn more in this Interactive Brokers review.

9. Desjardins Online Brokerage

Desjardins Online Brokerage (Disnat) is one of the best online stock brokers in Canada.

It was established in 1982 and recently began offering commission-free stock and ETF trading.

Investment products offered by Disnat include stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, bonds, Treasury Bills, and structured notes.

It also provides all the main investment accounts.

This broker has two platforms designated based on your trading type: Disnat Classics (for beginners and general trading) and Disnat Direct (for active traders).

Fees: Commission-free trades for stocks and ETFs; minimum $8.75/contract for options.

Cons:

  • $30 quarterly inactivity fee
  • $1,000 minimum balance

Get more details about Disnat in this review.

10. RBC Direct Investing

RBC Direct Investing is owned by the Royal Bank of Canada.

This brokerage trading platform offers stocks, ETFs, bonds, options, and more. You can also open various kinds of investment accounts.

It is available on all devices and you can also open a practice account.

Fees: The trading commission is $9.95 per trade. Active traders get a discount and pay $6.95 per trade.

Cons:

  • Expensive trading commissions
  • $25 quarterly fee for accounts less than $15,000
  • No commission-free stocks or ETFs

Learn more in this detailed review.

Best Online Stock Brokers in Canada For Beginners

What is an Online Stock Broker?

An online stock broker is a licensed investment company that allows investors to place trades for investment securities over an electronic network.

Online stock brokers are a modern iteration of the brick-and-mortar stock brokerage system that was popular a few years back.

How Do Online Brokers Work?

If you are a self-directed investor or trader, you can open a brokerage account online and place trades through your broker.

The online broker connects your trades with the market where it is filled and you can view your asset holdings in your account.

Online brokers also provide trading tools, research, and market data.

In exchange for providing these services, brokers make money by charging trading commissions, account administration fees, FX fees, etc.

Trading platforms in Canada are regulated by the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) and they are members of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF).

How To Choose The Best Online Brokers

Our methodology for picking the best Canadian online stock broker includes looking at these factors:

Fees: Expensive trading fees can dampen your investment returns over time. The top online brokerages offer commission-free trades or they have competitive fees.

You should also look at the administrative fees and inactivity fees that apply if you have a modest investment account.

Minimum investment: It is easier to begin your investment journey if you are not limited by high minimum investment thresholds. The brokers on this list have a minimum investment amount ranging from $0 to $1,000.

User interface: Most online brokers offer trading platforms that work on all devices. Check if the mobile apps have good ratings from users. Also, it should be easy to find your way around the platform without assistance.

Trading tools and research: Beginners can achieve their investment objectives with a straightforward platform that offers limited bells and whistles.

When you start trading actively or become more experienced, you may need access to advanced trading tools, market data, screeners, and research.

Investment accounts: Depending on the account you want to open, a broker may or may not suit your needs. In general, you want access to the popular registered and non-registered accounts.

Investment products: All the online brokers on this list offer access to stocks. In addition, some support options, ETFs, mutual funds, currencies, and other investment products.

Promotions: As a new client, you could earn a welcome bonus with some of these companies.

Customer service: What is the company’s reputation like for good or bad customer service and support?

What Is The Best Online Stock Broker in Canada?

If you are a newbie to investing, the best stock broker by far is Wealthsimple Trade. It offers a very user-friendly mobile trading app and you can’t beat zero-commission trades for stocks and ETFs.

If you are looking for a full-fledged brokerage account that also includes solid customer support, the best online stock broker is Qtrade.

It offers all the common investment products and accounts and has a long list of awards for exceptional customer service.

Lastly, Questrade is the best online broker for trading tools and market data options.

Alternatives To Online Stock Brokers

Instead of buying stocks directly by yourself, you could get professional help:

Robo-Advisors: These online wealth management companies invest on your behalf using low-cost ETFs. They manage your portfolio, rebalancing it when required, and keep its asset allocation in line with your risk tolerance and investment objectives.

Robo-advisors charge a management fee ranging from 0.20% to 0.70% per year. The top robo-advisor in Canada is Wealthsimple Invest.

Mutual funds: You can buy a pre-packaged mutual fund that contains thousands of stocks. So, instead of creating a portfolio of stocks on your own, you could just buy a mutual fund from your bank.

Mutual funds typically have high management fees, up to 2%.

Financial Advisors: You can work with a licensed financial advisor and have them invest on your behalf. An advisor may charge a flat fee or a percentage of your portfolio as fees.

Best Online Stock Broker FAQs

Are online stock brokers safe?

Online stock brokers in Canada are generally safe. If your broker becomes bankrupt, your investments are insured up to $1 million by the CIPF.

How much do online brokerages charge?

The trading fee for stock brokers in Canada ranges from $0 to $9.99 per trade.

Which broker is best for day trading?

The best stock broker for day trading in Canada is Questrade.

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Author

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Enoch Omololu

Enoch Omololu is a personal finance expert and a veterinarian. He has a master’s degree in Finance and Investment Management from the University of Aberdeen Business School (Scotland) and has completed several courses and certificates in finance, including the Canadian Securities Course. He also has an MSc. in Agricultural Economics from the University of Manitoba and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Ibadan. Enoch has a passion for helping others win with their personal finances and has been writing about money matters for over a decade. He has been featured or quoted in The Globe and Mail, Winnipeg Free Press, Wealthsimple, Financial Post, Toronto Star, CTV News, Canadian Securities Exchange, Credit Canada, National Post, CIBC, and many other personal finance publications.

His top investment tools include Wealthsimple and Questrade. He earns cash back on purchases using KOHO, monitors his credit score for free using Borrowell, and earns interest on savings through EQ Bank.

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