Want to earn passive income? I must confess, but often when I lay awake at night, it’s because my mind is continually racing to figure out how to earn enough passive income so I can free up my time to do other things.
When you are caught up in the hustle and bustle of your 9-5 job (i.e. active income) to make ends meet, it isn’t easy to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Wake up. Go to work. Get a paycheque. Go to work. TGIF. Year after year. On and on it goes until someday you can hopefully retire…and become free!
What would you pay to have more time available to you to do what you truly love?
Read on to learn about some of the best passive income ideas for Canadians and begin accelerating your journey toward financial freedom.
Best Passive Income Ideas in Canada in 2023
Here are some of the best passive income ideas you can implement now.
1. Open a High-Interest Savings Account
Put your savings in an account that actually earns interest. Traditional banks stopped paying worthwhile returns on savings accounts about a decade or so ago.
While you may have bought into the “loyalty” crap and love your bank dearly, consider moving your savings account to an online bank that pays interest exceeding the inflation rate.
Mind you, a high-interest savings account will hardly make you rich, given the 1-2% return they generate.
However, they are low-risk and are great for short-term savings, emergency funds, or conservative income sources in retirement.
I have reviewed some of the best high-interest savings offered by online banks in Canada:
Neo Financial: Earn interest on every dollar and get access to unlimited free Interac e-Transfers and bill payments
Neo Savings Account
4.00% non-promo interest rate
No monthly fees
Unlimited free transactions
Get a Mastercard for payments online and ATMs
Access to a no-annual-fee credit card
EQ Bank (earn a high-interest rate and get unlimited free transactions, mobile cheque deposits, and Interac e-Transfers). EQ Bank also offers TFSA and RSP accounts.
EQ Bank Savings Plus Account
3.00%* non-promotional interest rate
Unlimited debits and bill payments
Unlimited Interac e-Transfers
No monthly account fees
Your funds at these banks are protected for up to $100,000 by the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (federally incorporated banks) or guaranteed up to 100% regardless of the amount (many credit unions).
You can view the current best savings rates across several financial institutions here.
For U.S. residents: Check Ally, Synchrony, CIT Bank, and Brio Direct.
2. Invest With a Robo-Advisor
Investing for passive income is “as old as the hills.” It is a tried and tested method that often pays the patient investor.
Markets rise and wane; however, historical data tells us you will likely make more money in the financial markets when you assume a higher risk.
Managing your own investment portfolio requires some work, confidence, and knowledge. However, a hands-off approach also works.
Robo-advisors, aka wealth managers, can invest your money using low-cost ETFs in a custom portfolio that mirrors your investment preferences.
Their passive investment strategy costs you much less than traditional mutual fund managers; there’s no stress, you get free financial advice, and your net worth continues to grow.
Wealthsimple is Canada’s most popular robo-advisor, with hundreds of thousands of clients and over $15 billion in assets under management.
Professionally managed ETF portfolios
Multiple account types
Auto rebalancing and div reinvesting
Get a $25 bonus with a $500 deposit
Other robo-advisors in Canada I have reviewed are:
You do not necessarily need to have large sums of money to invest before you can earn passive income.
There are spare-change investing apps that round up your purchases to the nearest dollar and invest the difference in a non-registered or registered investment account.
The Wealthsimple app also offers roundup capabilities.
For U.S. residents:
Popular robo-advisors in the U.S. are Betterment and WealthFront.
Micro-investing apps: Acorns and Stash.
3. DIY Investing
Build your investment portfolio from scratch using stocks, ETFs, bonds, GICs, index funds, and more.
Self-directed investors can use an online discount brokerage platform to buy and sell investment assets to make money.
Stocks: A popular approach is to invest in dividend stocks. When you purchase stock in a company, they may pay out regular income (from profits) to their shareholders.
You do not need to do anything extra to benefit from these income distributions, which is why dividend investors love the passive income derived from dividend stocks.
Index Funds: Index funds represent a broad portion of the market or specific sectors, e.g. the S&P 500, and are an excellent way to diversify your portfolio at a low cost.
They are designed to provide returns that reflect the general performance of the market.
ETFs: Exchange Traded Funds are similar to index funds in that they hold multiple securities such as stocks, bonds, or commodities; however, they trade on an exchange like a stock.
Note that managing your investments comes with risks. For example, you will need to be aware of your behavioural biases, be prepared to rebalance your portfolio and conduct market research as required.
Investing is one of the best ways to earn passive income in Canada. Here are the 10 commandments of investing that I follow while trading the stock market.
For U.S. residents: Can invest online using investing apps such as Robinhood.
4. Start a Blog
I won’t lie to you and say blogging is an easy way to make money. It isn’t.
That being said, if you can put in the effort to find an audience for your blog, it can rake in cash day in and day out. I know this because I earn passive income from this blog.
Check out this guide for the 6 steps to starting your own money-making blog.
The start-up costs are minimal. For example, web hosting for your blog through Bluehost costs around $5 monthly.
After getting your blog off the ground, you can outsource its day-to-day running to virtual assistants and freelance writers.
Some of the ways to monetize your blog are through:
- Display ads
- Affiliate marketing
- Sponsored posts
- Selling your own products, e.g. ebooks and courses
You can also own a blog by purchasing one already in existence. Once you have decided on your preferred niche, find a blog already established in that area and is up for sale.
Sites that list websites for sale include Flippa and Empire Flippers.
5. Create an E-Commerce Store
Shopping online has never been more popular or lucrative. Start your own online store when you sell products made by you or others.
Some of the things you can sell online include clothing, art, handcrafted jewelry, online courses, footwear, books, consumer electronics, Athleisure, home decor, healthcare supplies, baby products, and many fashion accessories.
Worldwide e-commerce sales are projected to grow to $8.1 trillion in 2026. If you can establish your store, it can generate passive income whether you are awake or asleep.
One platform you can use to set up your e-commerce store is Shopify.
Shopify provides everything you need to get your store started. The platform is a one-stop shop for non-techie people to start online stores.
A basic package costs very little, and you get a free trial. Once you have decided on what you want to sell:
- Visit Shopify to open an account.
- Choose your business name and address, e.g. Stockings.myShopify.com or purchase a domain name that is exclusively yours, e.g. Stockings.com.
- Pick your preferred theme from available ready-made templates. You can also customize them to your taste.
- Easily add product images and their prices.
- Enable payments and add shipping.
- Install apps to manage your sales, inventory, newsletters, analytics, and more.
- Publish your store and start selling.
Owning an e-commerce store does not mean you need to fill up your basement with products. Here are some ways to sell products without keeping an inventory:
1. Dropshipping: Find a supplier (e.g. through Oberlo) and have them ship products directly to buyers. They take care of packaging, shipping, and returns.
2. Use Amazon and/or eBay.
6. Use Cash Back Apps
Whether you are shopping online or in-store, there are free cash back apps you can use to make/save money.
I love using cash back apps because they require very minimal effort and reward you for making purchases you were going to make anyway.
Some of the popular cash back apps that are worth joining are:
A. Neo Money: This free cash back app and prepaid card are a must-have if you make purchases using your debit card or cash. It pays up to 5% cash back on your spending, and you can access the cash back almost immediately.
You also get access to a free budgeting tool, free Interac e-Transfers, a savings account, and your balances earn interest.
Get Neo Money ($20 welcome bonus with CASHBACK promo code and account funding).
B. Rakuten (Ebates): This is the most popular cash back site for online shopping. With over 3,000 popular retailers listed on the site, you can earn cash back rebates every week.
Sign up for Rakuten ($30 bonus).
Read this Rakuten review for more details.
C. Swagbucks: Swagbucks is a popular get-paid-to site that rewards you for shopping online, playing games, searching the internet, and more.
Swagbucks is available in Canada and the U.S. Read our detailed Swagbucks review.
D. Caddle: This app is similar to Checkout 51 and is one of the best grocery receipt scanning apps available in Canada. Easily cash out your earnings starting at $20.
You can read our Caddle review.
Real Estate Investing
If you are like me and are not interested in getting involved with buying homes, repairing and flipping them for a profit, don’t give up yet. There are ways to generate passive to semi-passive income from real estate.
7. Purchase a Rental
You can purchase a house and rent it out to tenants. They pay you a monthly rent that covers the monthly mortgage payments and also provides some cash flow.
In an ideal scenario, i.e. with good tenants and the right location, you simply pocket the extra income, and after the property is paid for, it continues to generate income.
Of course, becoming a landlord comes with its own problems, especially if you get stuck with tenants from hell!
As a landlord, you can minimize your direct involvement with the day-to-day operation of your business by utilizing property managers.
8. Invest Using REITs
Real Estate Investment Trusts offer an easy way to invest in real estate without owning physical property.
REITs are companies that own or operate real estate properties to generate income.
They distribute most or all of their profits to their shareholders as dividends, and you can purchase them like stocks on major exchanges.
REITs can have a place in most portfolios based on their competitive yields (returns) and low correlation with other assets.
Similar to other investments, you should do your research to select the right REITs and ensure your portfolio is adequately diversified.
9. Crowdfunded Real Estate
Crowdfunding has made it possible for a large group of people to pool their money to fund massive real estate projects.
Crowdfunded real estate opportunities used to be limited to only accredited investors; however, they are now available to retail investors as well.
One of the platforms for crowdfunding and investing in real estate in Canada is NexusCrowd. In the U.S., you can check Realty Mogul.
10. Lend on Peer-to-Peer Lending Platforms
Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending involves lending money to individuals and businesses through an online platform that matches borrowers with lenders.
The lending platform evaluates the risk investors face when they provide financing to individuals and businesses through the marketplace and sets the potential returns based on this risk.
Basically, the higher the risk that a borrower may default on paying back their loan, the higher the interest rate they pay.
By cutting out the middlemen (i.e. traditional banks), P2P lending offers investors an opportunity to earn more on their investments.
Interested in peer-to-peer consumer lending (personal loans) in Canada? Read my goPeer review.
For U.S. residents: Popular peer-to-peer lending platforms in the U.S. are LendingClub, Fundrise, and Prosper.
Passive Income Strategies
These passive income ideas work for beginners and seasoned hustlers alike.
11. Use Affiliate Marketing
If you have a blog, you can easily incorporate affiliate products in your posts to make money and earn passive income.
The way it works is you promote products and services provided by others, and when you make a sale, they pay you a commission or referral fee.
Even if you do not have a blog, you can still make money by promoting affiliate links on social media like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter, and even through word of mouth.
12. Write a Book / Ebook
Get your creative juices flowing and write an ebook.
With online platforms like Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, self-publishing your work is possible and much less cumbersome than the traditional way of going about it.
If you are located outside the United States, see how you can avoid the 30% withholding tax when you sell your ebook on Amazon.
The eBook Academy teaches you everything you need to know about how to publish your ebook on Amazon and earn royalties.
13. Maximize Credit Card Rewards
If you use credit cards to pay for purchases, make sure to choose one that is worth your while.
Every year, we earn at least $800 in credit card rewards and this is without paying one cent in interest fees. Free money doesn’t get better than that.
Credit card rewards can be in the form of cash back or reward points. I generally prefer real cash back, but many points cards are also great as long as you can redeem the points in exchange for something worthwhile.
Check out some of the best credit card offerings in Canada per category:
- Best Overall Credit Cards in Canada
- Best No-Fee Cash Back Credit Cards
- Best Credit Cards for Travel Rewards
- Best Credit Cards For Foreign Currency Purchases
- Best Student Credit Cards
14. Rent Your Spare Room
If you have an empty room in your home, consider renting it out using Airbnb.
Listing your home is free. They verify guests and cover every booking with up to $1 million in property damage protection and $1 million in insurance against accidents.
Even better, you choose your price and schedule.
15. Rent Your Car
Ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft are popular for earning extra income; however, you can’t refer to driving other people around as being “passive.”
To generate passive income using your car, you can:
Rent your Car on Turo
Turo is a popular marketplace for sharing your car with others.
Listing your car is free, and you earn 65% to 90% of the trip price. In addition, Turo provides you with up to $2 million in liability insurance, 24/7 roadside assistance, and excellent customer support.
Earnings are paid out via direct deposit or PayPal within five business days. Read my Turo review.
Advertise on your Car
You can advertise products and services by wrapping your car with paid ads. Companies that offer this opportunity include Cavertise, Wrapify, and Drivertise.
Make sure to watch out for scammers who may try to defraud you (avoid people who ask you to pay for your wrap).
Non-passive ways to generate income from your car include delivering food in your area using Uber Eats or DoorDash.
Here is a list of apps that pay you to drive your car.
16. Create an Online Course
If you have a skill, talent, or passion that others find useful or interesting, consider creating a course you can sell online.
Two popular platforms you can use to create and host your course are:
Long after you have put in the work, a course can continue to generate income for you without much additional effort.
17. Monetize Your Daily Activities
Earn money by doing the things you already do daily. If you surf the internet, play games, watch videos, or like answering surveys, there are sites that reward you for these activities.
Passive Income Ideas With Little Money
Start your passive income journey with a small investment upfront.
18. Invest in Guaranteed Investment Certificates
Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs) are secured investments with guaranteed returns that make them a popular choice for passive income, and I’ve used them frequently in the past.
You buy for specific terms and are guaranteed a specific return, plus your principal is protected.
They’re a good option if you don’t want to take risks and want to know exactly how much you will get back.
19. Become a YouTube Sensation
While I haven’t found YouTube stardom yet, I know several people who make a significant amount of mostly passive income on the platform.
Many people have made fortunes on YouTube simply by building a following. If you become a star, there is a lot of money to be made.
You can make money from advertising if your videos get lots of views. But you can also recommend affiliate products, get sponsors and sell your products.
You’ll need to find your niche, so start by considering what you’re interested in and what knowledge you can share. Setting up and building a following is a lot of work, but once you’re a sensation, you can make a lot of money without putting in too much effort.
20. Invest in Start-Up Companies
Many start-ups cannot get financing. They have a great idea that they could turn into a successful company, but they need the money to get it off the ground. Banks don’t want to invest in them because of the risk they represent, but this presents an opportunity for you.
Start-ups can provide some great investment opportunities. First, you’ll need some money to start, but perhaps not as much as you think.
At FrontFundr, for example, you can invest with as little as $100. Or visit Liquid Crowd to find investment opportunities in Canada. Wherever you search, look for companies that interest you and that you think have potential.
It’s a higher risk than other passive income streams because you could lose your investment. But when it works out, you can make a significant amount of money.
21. Be Creative and Earn Royalties
Earning royalties from being creative is a great way to generate passive income.
It’s been around since long before the internet, and authors and songwriters have been earning royalties for decades.
The challenge is you need to create something, and we’re not all the next J.K. Rowling. But if you’ve got a book in you or know how to write songs, it could be a good option.
Another almost-passive way to make money from royalties is to use print-on-demand sites like Printful.
You simply create the artwork, and the company provides products like t-shirts and mugs to which you can add your designs.
The company then takes care of everything else, including printing, shipping and customer service. So if your designs are good, you could make some passive income using these sites.
22. Invest in Vending Machines
Vending machines are found in establishments all over Canada, from sports clubs to offices. People are constantly using them, making them a good option for passive income.
The basic business model involves buying a vending machine, finding somewhere to put it, stocking it up regularly and earning money from sales.
As well as being fairly passive, it’s also a low-risk option because not too much can go wrong. All you have to do is restock the vending machines, after all.
Once you find a place to put the vending machine, it’s almost passive income. You may have to pay rent to the business owner, but you might be able to negotiate. After all, vending machines provide value for the business too.
You can expect to earn a few hundred dollars monthly from a snack vending machine, depending on where you position it.
23. Invest in Cryptocurrency
Cryptocurrency has exploded onto the scene ever since the invention of Bitcoin in 2008. Now, thousands of cryptocurrencies exist, and investing in them in Canada has never been easier, thanks to platforms like CoinSmart.
You can invest in crypto with a few dollars. With some tokens having gone up 100s or even 1000s of times in recent bull runs, it’s easy to see how money can be made.
You probably know crypto investing is risky, and some coins have lost all their value in a few days. But the potential gains make it tempting for many investors. And if you invest in a winner, you could see a huge return on investment.
If you buy low and sell high rather than actively trade, there’s very little work involved.
You could even mine cryptocurrencies if you don’t want to just invest. Bitcoin mining is available to all, and while you have to invest in mining equipment, there is not much else involved once it’s up and running.
24. Flip Domain Names for Profit
Domain names can be excellent online real estate; some can sell for thousands of dollars. The problem is the best ones are often taken.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t buy them and flip them for a profit, which can be a nice little passive income stream.
For example, visit a site like GoDaddy to find domains for sale. One of the best ways to do this is to use its auctions page.
The work comes in finding a good domain that you are confident you can sell on later for more. This means a domain that is search friendly and easy to read but also one where you can see the demand potential.
Then you have to find a buyer. You could hold it for months or years, hoping someone comes along or actively seeking potential buyers.
It may be a good idea to buy lots of domains. That way, when you sell one, it can make up for the misses.
Passive Income Streams in Canada
Here are additional ways to generate passive income while you sleep.
25. Sell Stock Photos
People constantly look for photos to publish in blogs, news websites, and magazines. They often use stock photos because this is easier and cheaper than sending a photographer to take them.
You can take the photos they need and upload them to a site like Shutterstock. You can then earn royalties from $0.10 to over $5 for every photo purchased.
It’s low-risk and low-cost, and while it takes time to build up your library and you won’t get rich overnight, it could soon become a good passive income source.
26. Create Your Own App
There are apps for almost everything these days. But have you ever considered creating your own? You don’t have to be an app developer. All you need is a good idea.
It takes time and money to create an app. But once people download and use it, you can make passive income.
Income mainly comes through advertising, but you can also make money from subscriptions or sell directly via the app.
27. Rent Your Parking Space
If you have a parking space that you don’t use, like a driveway or a garage, you can rent it out and make passive income from it.
This is particularly useful if you live in an area without much parking space, where you can charge a premium.
Head to JustPark to get started. This connects you with people in your area who want to rent your space, making the whole process almost effortless.
28. Rent Your Pool
If you are fortunate enough to have a swimming pool, there’s money to be made there too.
Head to Swimply, where you can list your pool and people can connect and rent it by the hour. You could earn as much as $100 per hour, depending on its size, location and additional features.
You have to ensure everything is safe to use, and there are risks to consider. But it could be a very easy way to make some passive income.
29. Make Money from Stock Music
Like stock photos, you can also earn passive income from stock music.
Many people need royalty-free music for their advertisements, online videos, YouTube videos and podcasts. If you have musical abilities, you can create tracks people want to use and collect your royalties.
Get started by submitting your music to PremiumBeat for review.
30. Buy a Hands-Off Business
Running a business may seem like hard work, and it usually is. But some businesses are more hands-off than others, making them potentially attractive passive income ideas.
For example, a laundromat could be a good option. You don’t need employees apart from perhaps one person to assist. As long as you can afford to set up the equipment, it could be a good passive source of income.
Another option is a self-storage business. Find one already operating, and you may find it quite a hands-off business, especially if you pay someone to run it for you.
You could even buy several and hire one person to manage them all.
Other Ways To Earn Passive Income
31. Invest in Farmland
Farmland could be another passive income idea for making money in 2023.
Farmland is a tangible asset that you can rent out or sell. In addition, the price has increased over the years steadily, making it a good investment.
Start by exploring AGinvest, which specializes in farmland in Canada. You must be a Canadian citizen or resident and be an accredited investor, but the passive income potential is real.
32. Sell on Etsy
Etsy is one of the biggest marketplaces for handmade goods and vintage items. Many people run businesses on the website. Depending on what you sell, you can make it quite passive.
For example, you could flip items by buying old jewellery and selling it on the site. But perhaps the best option is to sell digital products.
Digital artwork files are very popular on the site. If you create something unique and popular, you could make a significant side income with very little work involved.
Here are some Etsy alternatives.
33. Record and Sell Audiobooks
Audiobooks are more popular than ever, and someone needs to narrate all those books.
There is some work involved in becoming an audiobook narrator. You may have to learn about narration techniques, for example, and audition for the role.
But once you start recording audiobooks, you can earn royalties when they are purchased, which could turn into a good source of passive income.
34. Become an Influencer on Instagram
Instagram is one of the biggest social platforms, and many people have made fortunes by becoming Instagram influencers.
There is no set path to becoming an influencer. Some people make it; some don’t. But the rewards can be enormous.
Once you have a large and engaged audience, you can recommend products to your audience in return for payment, market affiliate products, run sponsored posts, and sell your products.
While it takes a lot of work to become an influencer, once you’ve made it, you could post a video from time to time, and that might be all the work you need to do.
35. Buy and Sell Websites
I already mentioned flipping domains, but flipping websites is another option. This is where you buy a website that is up and running, preferably one with a good audience, and then improve it and sell it.
You can buy a website that is not performing that well for less. If you know how to do SEO and online marketing, you can grow the audience over a few months, then sell it for a profit.
It might sound like a lot of work, but it can be quite hands-off if you can outsource tasks. For example, you could hire an SEO expert to generate more traffic over a few months, then sell it off for a profit.
Start by visiting Flippa, where you will find many websites for sale and search for potential purchases.
Passive Income Explained
Simply put, passive income refers to money you earn continuously without needing to put in effort daily.
A passive income stream continues to flow while you sleep, and while it may need some work to be done, your “effort” is no longer equivalent to the “reward” you earn.
Imagine you write a book that takes a year to complete, which then goes on to sell and earn income 10 years after it was initially published.
Or an investment portfolio that continues to grow and earn returns long after you stop investing new funds?
If you have ever wondered why the rich keep getting richer, the bottom line is that most of them have figured out how to make their money and ideas work for them.
As they say, “time is money.” It’s a finite resource. You have started on the path to wealth when you can find a way to make money, come rain or shine.
It usually takes some money and effort to make more money. However, a solid passive income strategy continues to make money long after you are done working.
Start with one idea, make it work, and then like most self-made millionaires, replicate the same model across several channels to create multiple income streams.
Passive Income Canada FAQs
Investing in the stock markets and earning dividends and capital gains is a great way to create passive income. You can also consider starting a business, blogging, real estate, and writing a book.
With careful planning, you can build one or more passive income sources and have enough to pay all your bills without putting in an extra ounce of ‘work’. Many of the rich people we hear about do get a significant portion of their wealth from passive income. Many regular Joe’s can also build a sizable nest egg by investing long-term and watching their portfolio grow.
Generating enough passive income so that work becomes optional is a dream held by many.
Try out these passive income ideas and get started with living the life of your dreams.
Which of these passive income ideas do you like the most? Are there any other strategies you are using to earn effortless income right now?