8 Best Online Trading Platforms In Canada (May 2022)

January 10, 2022
Blog

If you prefer a more hands-on approach when it comes to investing, online trading platforms might be for you. Trading platforms provide a lot of flexibility: investors can pick and choose particular investments and build their portfolio from the ground up; one major drawback is that you need to have a solid understanding of the stock market.

After reviewing dozens of trading platforms, there is one that ranks above in terms of fees, ease-of-use, and overall flexibility: Wealthsimple. Beginning with a no-minimum starting investment, highly-rated app, and open access to financial advisors, Wealthsimple is a great option for beginners and advanced investors alike.

What Are Trading Platforms?

A trading platform is a software that allows investors and traders to execute transactions and keep track of their accounts via financial intermediaries.

The best platforms allow everyday investors to directly participate in the financial markets, where they may buy and sell stock, ETFs, options, and other financial assets as desired for their portfolios.

The appeal of these programs is their simplicity of use and versatile features – such as news feeds and graphs – for investor education and research. Experienced and active traders benefit the most from the available trading tools and research tools.

Why Use Trading Platforms?

If you’re thinking about investing, you want to minimize the fees as much as possible. One way is to use robo advisors, which boast very small fees. If you’re looking for the lowest trading fees, you’ll want to look up Canadian online brokers, also known as online trading platforms. They’re the most cost-effective way to invest in Canada, topping both regular banks and robo advisors.

One very important drawback is that online brokers are legally barred from offering advice. They’re only intermediaries that facilitate your trade, so some knowledge about investing and stock trading, in general, is recommended.

Here are the best day trading platforms Canada has to offer and the best online brokerage accounts:

The 8 Best Online Trading Platforms In Canada

1) Wealthsimple (our full review)

Fees$0 – No trading fees
No account minimums.
No inactivity fees
FeaturesRobo advisor service (Wealthsimple Invest)
High-Interest Savings Account (Wealthsimple Save)
Mobile App
Fractional shares
PremiumOffers a Premium upgrade with real-time market data
$50 cash bonus when you invest with Wealthsimple Trade
AccountsTFSA, RRSP, and non-registered personal accounts

Launched in 2019 as part of the Wealthsimple family, Wealthsimple Trade is Canada’s largest online investing and trading platform, with over 1.5 million active users. Wealthsimple Trade offers Canadians access to the largest exchanges in the world, including the NYSE, NASDAQ, and the TSX.

Wealthsimple Trade has two accounts for new investors accounts; the Free Account and the Plus Account. Wealthsimple doesn’t charge trading fees for either, and some of the features included in both are no account minimums, instant deposits (ranging from $1,500 to $5,000, based on the account type), fractional shares, and access to snap quotes and real-time prices. For just $10/mo., the Plus account allows users to create a USD account to trade stocks and ETFs in US dollars, which means you don’t have to pay currency-conversion fees when using international exchanges; for the basic account, there’s a 1.5% FX conversion fee.

Wealthsimple is a member of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC).

2) Questrade (our full review)

FeesAccount minimum $1,000
$4.95 to $9.95 per trade
No account minimums
No inactivity fees
FeaturesRobo advisor service (Questwealth)
Private insurance coverage up to $10 million
Mobile App
Fee-free ETF purchases
AccountsTFSA, RRSP, RESP, LIRA, RIF, LIF, Margin, Corporate

Questrade is one of the oldest trading platforms in Canada and one of the most diverse in terms of financial products. Founded in 1999, Questrade provides Canadians with an easy way to access advanced trading tools for a reasonable price. Among its best features are Watchlists, which allow users to keep track of their favorite stocks, and customizable Smart Alerts, which allow users to set up real-time, instant notifications to take advantage of price fluctuations. For advanced traders, there are charting tools and self-directed investing with lower fees; for new traders, there are premade, expertly-made diversified Questwealth portfolios.

Questrade supports many types of trading, from stock and options trading to FX and margin trading. Global stock CFDs and commodities are also available, with very low spreads and commissions

The Questrade platform is regulated and insured by the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) and the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF), respectively.

3) Qtrade (our full review)

FeesAccount minimum $1,000
$8.75 commission per trade
$25 inactivity fee per quarter
FeaturesTrial account.
Mobile App. (Rated 1.8/5 on the app store)
AccountsFSA, RRSP, RESP, margin, RRIFT

Qtrade is a brokerage and trading platform based in Vancouver, Canada. It was founded in 2001 by Aviso Wealth, and it ranks consistently among the best trading platforms in Canada. Qtrade offers different tools for new and experienced investors. New investors can take advantage of the easy-to-use Account Dashboard, the easily accessible recommendations and actionable insights from Morningstar experts, and the Watchlists, which can keep track of your favorite stocks in real-time.

For more experienced investors, there’s the Quote Stream, which provides customized charts, technical analysis and historical data, the PortfolioScore, which evaluates and determines the risk of your portfolio and sends you a customized report; and the PortfolioSimulator, which doubles as a testing environment for investing strategies and portfolio allocation.

Like most Canadian brokerages, Qtrade is a member of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) and the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF).

4) Interactive Brokers Canada 

FeesFrom $1.00 to 5% of every trade
Low foreign currency conversion fees
FeaturesAdvanced trading features
Best for high volume traders
Educational packages
Fractional shares
Earn interests by lending shares
AccountsFSA, RRSP, RESP, margin, RRIF

Interactive Brokers Canada Inc. (IB Canada) is the Canadian branch of the US-based brokerage platform Interactive Brokers (IBKR). It started operations in Canada in 2000, and since then, it has established itself as one of the go-to platforms for experienced traders

IB Canada offers easy access to stocks, ETFs, and bonds from over 135 international markets, options, futures, and margin trading; IB Canada recently implemented fractional shares and a lending system where you can lend your stocks and earn interests, paid out daily. 

For advanced traders, IB offers 110+ order types, from the very simple limit orders to algorithmic trading and over 23 spot trading currencies. Additional tools include real-time trade confirmations, transactions and cost analysis, and interactive charting tools.IB Canada is a member of the CIPF and insures assets for up to $1,000,000 for non-registered accounts, including cash, margin, and TFSA. Registered accounts (RSP) are considered different accounts for the purpose of insuring and are eligible for an additional $1,000,000.

5) TD Direct Investing

Fees$9.99 per trade
FeaturesRegulated online brokerage
Educational packages
Easy-to-use platforms
AccountsTFSA, RRSP, RESP, margin, RRIF

TD Direct Investing is an extension of the Toronto-based TD Bank in Canada. The Toronto-Dominion Bank was founded in 1955, and since then, it has launched four different trading platforms: WebBroker, TD app, Advanced Dashboard, and thinkorswim.

Usually marketed for experienced investors, TD Direct Investing offers access to real-time news and quotes, educational resources, opinions from professional analysis, and advanced charting tools. You can also sign up for daily, weekly, and special reports – including Morningstar and TD Economics reports – to help you make more informed choices.

Some advanced order types available include trailing stops, option stop limit and short sell stops. There is also a range of conditional orders, which can be accessed on the TD dashboard on the orders tab.

As a subsidiary of the Toronto-Dominion Bank, TD Investing is insured by the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC) for up to $100,000 in each eligible category.

6) CIBC Investor’s Edge

Fees$6.95 + $1.25 for every transaction.
No account minimums
$100 yearly maintenance fee
FeaturesMobile App. (Rated 3.5/5 on the App Store)
Student and active trader discount
Educational package
AccountsTFSA, RRSP, RESP, RRIF, LIRA, LRSP, LRIF, PRIF, margin

CIBC Investor-Edge is another large trading platform also backed by one of Canada’s Big Six Banks – It was launched in 2003 as a direct competitor to some of the other, more expensive trading brokerages. It was intended as a self-contained platform, with one of the more extensive sets of tools available for self-directed investors. 

CIBC IE research tools include reports from professional Morningstar analysts, stock and ETF screeners through FeaturedScreens, QuickScreener and CustomScreener, historical performance and portfolio information of ETFs, and search algorithms to look up specific stocks within ETFs. CIBC also offers advanced charting tools and options trading, and special pricing for students and active traders who make at least 150 trades per quarter. In terms of accounts offered, CIBC Investors Edge benefits from being linked with the CIBC bank: traders can access registered accounts (TFSA, RRSP, and RESP), non-registered (Cash, Margin), and non-personal accounts (Corporate, Trust, Estate, Investment Club).

In Summary

If you prefer a more hands-on approach to investing, online trading platforms might be for you. Trading platforms provide a lot of flexibility: investors can pick and choose particular investments and build their portfolio from the ground up; one major drawback is that you need to have a solid understanding of the stock market.

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