Canada’s Best Online Brokerages 2017

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Are you thinking about making the switch to a new online brokerage. Use the list below to build your own side-by-side comparison. Simply select the brokerages you want to learn more about and see how they stack up to each other across 27 separate categories.

  BMO InvestorLine CIBC Investor's Edge Credential Direct Desjardins Online Brokerage HSBC InvestDirect Laurentian Bank Discount Brokerage National Bank Direct Brokerage Qtrade Investor Questrade RBC Direct Investing Scotia iTRADE TD Direct Investing Virtual Brokers
Minimum account size to qualify for no annual fees or inactivity fees $25,000 for RRSPs; $10,000 for non-registered 25,000 for RRSPs; $10,000 for non-registered $15,000 across all accounts OR two trades per quarter OR total monthly deposits over $100 $15,000 OR 125 trades per year $25,000 for RRSPs; $10,000 for non-registered $25,000 for RRSPs OR $100,000 across all accounts $20,000 across all accounts OR five trades per year $25,000 across all accounts OR two trades per quarter; no minimum for young investors who deposit $50 or more per month $5,000 across all accounts; no fees for clients under 25. myFamily program allows account pooling $15,000 combined balance across all accounts OR 3 trades per quarter OR quarterly deposits over $300 $25,000 OR 12 trades per year for RRSPs; $10,000 OR 1 trade per quarter for non-registered $15,000 across all accounts. Additional criteria to waive maintenance fees available. $5,000 across all accounts; no fees for clients 26 or younger.
Basic online equity trading commission $9.95 $6.95 $8.88 $9.95 $9.88 $9.95 $9.95 $8.75 1-cent per share ($4.95 min. $9.95 max). $9.95 $9.99 $9.99 $9.99
Are lower or higher commissions charged in different circumstances $4.95 for active traders As low as $5 for active traders $8.88 for Advance banking clients; $6.88 for Premier banking clients $6.95 if 30 trades per quarter $6.95 if 150 trades per quarter OR assets above $500,000 1¢ per share ($6.95 max) $6.95 for clients with 150 or more trades/quarter $4.99 if 150 trades per quarter; $24.99 if eligible assets with all Scotiabank entities < $50,000 $7 if 150 trades per quarter $4.99 if 150 trades per quarter; $0 for active traders.
Does the firm waive ECN or additional fees on top of specified orders? Monthly platform fees for active traders may apply if minimum number of transactions isn't reached Fees for removing liquidity range from $0.0008/share to $0.004/share depending on exchange and security price. SEC fees charged for sales of U.S. securities. ECN fees are charged on after-hours trading in US markets ($0.005 per share)
Basic options commission (1) $9.95 + $1.25 per contract $6.95 + $1.25 per contract $8.88 + $1.25 per contract $1.25 per contract (Min. of $8.75) $9.88 + $1.25 per contract $9.95 + $1.25 per contract $9.95 + $1.25 per contract $8.75 + $1.25 per contract $9.95 ticket + $1.25 per contract. $9.95 + $1.25 per contract $9.99 + $1.25 per contract $9.99 + $1.25 per contract $9.99 + $1.25 per contract ($4.99 + $1.25 per contract if 150 trades in previous quarter)
Are commission-free ETFs available to buy?
Are commission-free ETFs available to sell?
How many commission-free ETFs do you offer? - - - - - - No commissions to buy or sell when trading at least 100 shares of any Canadian-listed ETF 100 unlimited - 50 - unlimited
Do you offer low fee funds? -
How many low-fee funds do you offer? 62 400 We offer low cost mutual funds, such as Mawer and Series D (which strip out advisor commissions) of the following fund families: Invesco, Blackrock, Beutel Goodman, BMO, Mackenzie, Purpose, RBC, TD. We offer all Class D mutual funds (which strip out advisor commissions) available on the market 4,000 - D series funds (which strip out advisor commissions) from large firms like RBC, TD, BMO, Blackrock, MFC, Beutel All D Series funds (which strip out advisor commissions), as well as low-cost options from Mawer funds, Steadyhand funds, Leith Wheeler, and more. - 446 Approx. 400 E-Series mutual funds (low cost passively-managed index funds): MERs as low as 0.33% (MERs as of March 28, 2017) D-Series mutual funds (low cost actively managed funds): over 60 available with more being added. (MERs range from 0.99% to 2.0% as of July 2017) H-Series funds offer tax-efficient income strategies. Also available are Analyst Choice Funds. We offer all CLASS F and CLASS D Mutual Funds (which strip out advisor commissions)
Can you hold U.S. dollars in registered accounts? U.S.-friendly RRSP is $120 annually - $15 per quarter
Can you purchase bonds online?
Can you purchase GICs online?
Is there an app for trading on your smartphone or tablet
In addition to or in lieu of a mobile app, is the website built responsively for mobile devices? Public-facing site is responsive Advanced Dashboard platform, ThinkOrSwim platform, lower commissions, exclusive research reports, reduced market data
What extras are available to active traders? Better data and research tools Better data, research and tools; lower commissions - New Market Q platform with integrated portfolio and trading ticket, streaming data; lower commissions Lower commissions (after 30 trades/quarter) - Better data; lower commissions Lower commissions and fees; dedicated phone number Desktop trading platform Better data and research tools FlightDesk platform; lower commissions; additional equity research; personalized service President’s Account (for assets above $500,000) Multiple Trading Platforms; commission free accounts
Is there an exclusive service for large accounts? 5 Star Silver for assets above $250,000; 5 Star Gold for above $500,000 Prestige Service Advance and Premier prorgams for large banking clients Advantage for assets above $500,000; Private for assets above $1M Platinum client tier Royal Circle for assets above $250K Three levels of VIP account Service: VIP, VIP Gold, VIP Elite
Is there an ETF "robo advisor" service? BMO SmartFolio offered by BMO Nesbitt Burns Coming soon.
What is the cost of your robo advisor service? BMO SmartFolio: 0.40%–0.70% annually, depending on account balance. Minimum quarterly fee of $15 - - - - - 0.73% annually 0.4% to 1% annually, depending on account balance 0.35% to 0.70% annually, depending on account balance - - - 0.35% to 0.6% depending on account balance
How many products are availble through this service? BMO SmartFolio: 5 ETF-only portfolios - 5 to 10 ETF-only portfolios - - - 6 portfolios (one in USD) 12 portfolios 5 portfolios, across 3 tiers, based on account balance - - - 6 ETF-only portfolios
Does the site offer live chat service? Screen-sharing function available
Does the site offer call-back service?
What days and hours are live-chat or telephone services available? Mon-Fri, 08:00–20:00 ET Chat: Mon-Fri, 09:00–18:00 ET;
Call-back service: Mon-Fri, 10:00–15:00 ET
Chat: Mon-Fri, 09:00–20:00 ET;
Call-back service: Mon-Fri, 06:00–17:00 PT
Call-back service: Mon-Fri, 07:00–19:00 ET Monday - Friday; any time of the day and Sunday evenings - Call-back service: Mon-Fri, 08:00–20:00 ET Mon-Fri, 05:30–17:00 PT Chat: Mon-Fri, 08:00–20:00 ET;
Phone: Mon-Fri, 07:30–20:00 ET
Mon-Fri, 07:00–20:00 ET Mon-Fri, 08:30–17:00 Phone: 7 days per week, 24 hours per day Mon-Thu, 08:00–21:00 ET; Fri, 08:00–18:00 ET; Sat, 11:00–18:00 ET
Does the firm have social media coverage? And if so, what are the hours and days? Mon-Fri, 07:00–22:00 ET; Sat, 09:00–18:00 ET; Sun, 09:00–17:00 ET Mon-Fri, 08:00–20:00 ET; Sat–Sun, 08:00–15:00 ET Mon-Sun, 08:00–16:00 ET Mon-Fri, 09:00–17:00 PT Mon-Fri, 09:00–17:00 ET 7 days per week, 24 hours per day Mon-Fri, 09:00–17:00 ET Mon-Fri 08:00–17:00 ET
Average time to respond to a service request by email (2) 79 Hours 74 Hours 50 Hours 8 Hours 35 Hours 112 Hours 60 Hours 2 Hours 41 Hours 9 Hours 15 Hours 48 Hours 65 Hours
BEST FEATURES Account opening process; alerting; adviceDirect; Smartfolio Low equity commissions; strong market notifications Research tools; planning and analytic tools; commission schedule Strong customer service; Market research; active trader services Global trading capability, including foreign currency accounts Comparable commissions InvestCube ETF service; educational resources Strong customer service; account services; website design Low commissions; website design; mobile accessibility Banking integration; acount management features Website design; online account services; banking integration Market data; global trading capabilities Online account opening; services for active traders
BUYER BEWARE Poor service response times; $5,000 minimum account size; Cost of services Below average market data; poor service response times Poor service response times; below average account services Older website; below average account services Poor service response times; below average account services Poor service response times; outdated website  Poor service response times; below average account services Maintenance fees are on the higher end Poor service response times; ECN fees Weak application process; below average charting Commissions and fees tend to be on the high-end; weak educational material Poor service; multiple website designs; weak account opening process Poor service response times; weak website resources
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(1) Equity and options commissions may vary according to the size of the investor’s account and/or the frequency of trades. (2) Response time was measured using Surviscor’s Service Level Assessment program which assessed over a 12-month period ending in May 2017.

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