The best GIC rates in Canada for 2023

Find the best GIC rates in Canada. Plus, everything you need to know about how they work.

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Scan the table below to view GIC interest rates offered by financial institutions across Canada. These are current rates offered by Ratehub partners. You can find information about additional product options below.

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Compare the best GIC rates in Canada 2023

If you’re looking to purchase a guaranteed investment certificate (GIC), you’ve come to the right place. We’ve rounded up the GICs paying the highest interests today. Further down, you’ll find additional information about GICs and how you can use them in your investment portfolio.

The best GIC rates currently available

The following institutions currently pay the highest GIC rates in Canada.

Wealth One Bank of Canada 

A relative newcomer to the Canadian financial sector, Wealth One was established in 2016 with the express purpose of providing unique and specialized services. In particular, Wealth One offers borrowing and everyday banking services for self-employed people and newcomers. GIC deposits start at a minimum of $1,000, are non-redeemable, registered or non-registered, and are eligible for CDIC insurance.

  • 1-year: 5.15%
  • 2-year: 5.05%
  • 3-year: 4.80%
  • 4-year: 4.80%
  • 5-year: 4.70%

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Meridian Credit Union

Meridian Credit Union is the largest credit union in Ontario and the second largest in the country. In 2019, it launched its digital arm, motusbank. Meridian offers a range of products and services across banking, credit cards, loans, mortgages and GICs. Among its unique offerings is the three- or five-year Raise the Rate GIC which allows you to increase your interest rate before your term is up.

  • 1-year: 4.45%
  • 2-year: 4.40%
  • 3-year: 4.30%
  • 4-year: 4.30%
  • 5-year: 4.30%

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Alterna Bank

Alterna Bank, a digital subsidiary of Ontario credit union Alterna Savings, offers everyday banking services, mortgages and investments. Alterna is partnered with QTrade, making it a seamless option for those who want to access QTrade’s Guided Portfolios or to self-manage their investments through QTrade Direct Investing. At Alterna Bank, GICs are called eTerm deposits and they’re available from as little as $500. 

  • 1-year: 4.75%
  • 2-year: 4.60%
  • 3-year: 4.50%
  • 4-year: 4.50%
  • 5-year: 4.50%

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Motive Financial

Motive Financial is a division of Canadian Western Bank that operates entirely online. With lower overhead costs, Motive prides itself on offering high interest rates and reduced banking fees. And because it’s part of Canadian Western Bank, your eligible deposits are safe—the bank is a member of Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC). Motive’s non-registered GICs offer some of the highest rates available, too. You’ll need a minimum deposit of $1,000, but you have the flexibility of either having your interest paid out annually into a Motive Savings Account or having the interest compound annually and paid out at maturity.

  • 1-year: 5.20%
  • 2-year: 5.10%
  • 3-year: 4.85%
  • 4-year: 4.80%
  • 5-year: 4.72%

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Oaken Financial

Oaken Financial is a direct banking arm of Home Trust and was launched in 2013. It operates almost completely online (there are a few bricks-and-mortar offices in the country). Oaken is one of many online banks springing up across Canada, serving those ready to forgo in-person interactions for better interest rates and low or no fees. Some investors may approach Oaken with caution due to its relatively recent entry into the marketplace, but for those ready to take a calculated risk, the interest rates are tempting and Oaken GICs are eligible for CDIC coverage. Oaken GICs require a minimum deposit of $1,000, and they pay out interest annually.

  • 1-year: 5.10%
  • 2-year: 4.95%
  • 3-year: 4.55%
  • 4-year: 4.50%
  • 5-year: 4.40%

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People’s Trust

People’s Trust is a division of People’s Group, based in Vancouver. Although it may not have mass name recognition, it’s been in operation since 1985. People’s Trust offers a variety of products with competitive interest rates, and it is a member of CDIC. 

  • 1-year: 5.00%
  • 2-year: 5.00%
  • 3-year: 4.70%
  • 4-year: 4.65%
  • 5-year: 4.50%

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EQ Bank

EQ Bank launched in 2016 and is powered by Equitable Bank, and your deposits are protected by CDIC insurance. EQ also provides a lot of flexibility with its non-registered GICs: it offers terms of 3, 6, 9, 15 and 27 months, and you can start investing with as little as $100.

  • 1-year: 5.00%
  • 2-year: 5.00%
  • 3-year: 4.85%
  • 4-year: 4.60%
  • 5-year: 4.60%

On Nov. 1, 2022, EQ Bank acquired Wyth Financial. Existing Wyth GICs will be serviced until maturity, and Wyth Financial will contact current customers directly regarding any changes. New purchases will go through EQ Bank.

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Achieva Financial

Established in 1998 as a division of Cambrian Credit Union, a Manitoba credit union, Achieve Financial is one of the country’s oldest online financial institutions. It offers a range of GIC terms, with a minimum balance of $1,000 per GIC, and all deposits are guaranteed without limit by the Deposit Guarantee Corporation of Manitoba.

  • 1-year: 4.70%
  • 2-year: 4.65%
  • 3-year: 4.55%
  • 4-year: 4.45%
  • 5-year: 4.45%

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Hubert Financial

Manitoba’s Hubert Financial is an online-only financial institution offering a range of savings products that are fully guaranteed by the Deposit Guarantee Corporation of Manitoba. It is a division of Access Credit Union, which merged with Sunova Credit Union and Noventis Credit Union on July 1, 2022.

  • 1-year: 4.60%
  • 2-year: 4.65%
  • 3-year: 4.55%
  • 4-year: 4.55%
  • 5-year: 4.50%

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LBC Digital (Laurentian Bank)

LBC Digital is the online banking division of the Laurentian Bank of Canada, a CDIC-insured financial institution founded in Montreal in 1846.

  • 1-year: 4.90%
  • 2-year: 4.60%
  • 3-year: 4.40%
  • 4-year: 4.40%
  • 5-year: 4.40%


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ICICI Bank Canada

Part of a global banking brand, ICICI Bank Canada offers competitive rates on redeemable and non-redeemable GICs with a low minimum deposit of $1,000. ICICI also offers foreign-currency GICs, which are a great way to invest in a currency other than Canadian dollars, in preparation for a trip or simply to diversify your portfolio.

  • 1-year: 4.70%
  • 2-year: 4.70%
  • 3-year: 4.40%
  • 4-year: 4.40%
  • 5-year: 4.40%

Disclaimer: Rates highlighted above are for non-redeemable GICs.

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A guide to GIC rates in Canada

What is a GIC?

Guaranteed investment certificates (GICs) are essentially termed loans you make available to a bank or other financial institution. When you purchase a GIC, you agree to a specific term (period of time) during which your deposit will remain with the bank and, in return, the bank offers you a guaranteed interest rate. You can usually invest in a GIC for as little as $500, and there’s typically no fee associated with buying one. The only thing you’re required to do is leave the money with the bank—and the longer the term, the higher the rate. Certain types of GICs allow you to withdraw some or all of your money early—see details below.

Video: GICs for all life stages

What types of GICs are available?

There are many different kinds of GICs, but these are the most common.

These GICs are typically available for short one-year terms, and you’re free to cash out early after a 30- or 90-day closing period. Cashable GICs are perfect for people who think they may need access to their money but want to invest to get a higher guaranteed interest rate than what a regular bank account offers. While the trade-off for greater flexibility is usually a lower interest rate, cashable GICs can be a smart way to protect yourself against interest rate fluctuations. If interest rates rise, your money won’t be locked in at a lower fixed rate for long. On the other hand, if interest rates fall, a GIC might prove to be better than a savings account, allowing you to lock in at a higher percentage.

Redeemable and cashable GICs are very similar. Some banks use the terms interchangeably, so it’s prudent to check each product before purchasing it. That said, in many cases the difference is that a redeemable GIC allows you to access your money before the end of the term—without a waiting period—but the GIC may be subject to an early-redemption rate that can drastically cut the interest you receive.

As the name suggests, a non-redeemable GIC cannot be cashed out prior to the end of its term without incurring a penalty. However, non-redeemable GICs tend to offer higher interest rates, so they may be ideal for those wanting a secure investment over a fixed amount of time.

Registered GICs can be held inside registered investment accounts like RRSPs, RRIFs and TFSAs, which are tax-sheltered. In the case of an RRSP or RRIF, you’ll be taxed in the year that you withdraw the funds, and with a TFSA, you’ll never pay tax. However, there are limits on how much you can put into these accounts each year, depending on the type of account. (For example, check your TFSA limit here.)

These are GICs not held inside a registered account. So, it’s essentially the opposite of the registered GICs described above—the GIC interest you earn will be added to your income and taxed according to your tax bracket. There is no limit on what you can invest in non-registered GICs.

This type of GIC performs according to a specified equity index, and it only guarantees your principal deposit. With one foot in a GIC and the other in the stock market, these products may be right for those looking for a slightly higher amount of risk with the possibility of greater rewards.

These are GICs in currencies other than Canadian dollars, usually U.S. dollars. Foreign-currency GICs might work well for someone who travels frequently or receives income in another currency.

How GIC terms work

Shopping for a GIC is easy, but it’s not quite as simple as looking for the best GIC rate. To choose the best product for your circumstances, you’ll also want to think about the terms. Your plans for the money will dictate what’s best for you.

Short-term GICs take less than a year to mature. The principal is guaranteed along with an advertised rate of interest. These products are a good way to get a bit more out of your investment without sacrificing much liquidity.

Long-term GICs have terms of one year or more, and they typically have higher interest rates than short-term GICs. Investors can buy long-term GICs to generate monthly income, perhaps using a GIC laddering strategy with staggered maturity dates.

GICs and term deposits are different names used for secured investments, meaning you are guaranteed to receive your initial investment at the end of the term. According to the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, the primary difference is the length of time your money is locked in: term deposits typically carry shorter terms than GICs.

GICs can pay out monthly, annually or upon maturity. If you need access to interest accrued on a regular basis (for example, as part of your monthly income), you’ll want the first option.

How GIC deposits are insured

GICs are guaranteed, which is one of the reasons why they are such a popular investment. The protections are many-fold, starting with the guarantee of the financial institution they are purchased from. It is legally obligated to return your initial investment plus interest (depending on the product you choose).

But what happens if the financial institution goes belly-up? Then the next level of protection kicks in: Many GICs are protected by the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC). Some—particularly those purchased through credit unions—carry coverage through provincial organizations. The CDIC covers up to $100,000 for deposits, including foreign-currency GICs.

Provincial insurers vary by province. Insurers in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba and Saskatchewan cover all deposits accepted by financial institutions with no maximum. In Quebec, savings and GICs of up to $100,000 are covered, plus RRSPs with a $100,000 limit. In Ontario, savings of up to $250,000 are covered, while registered accounts (including RRSPs, TFSAs and RESPs) are fully covered. In New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador, savings, GICs and RRSPs of up to $250,000 are covered, and in Prince Edward Island the insurer offers basic protection for up to $125,000, plus separate unlimited protection for deposits held in registered plans.

Are GICs worth the investment?

GICs can never give you the highest investment return compared to something riskier, like exchange-traded funds (ETFs) or individual stocks, but your principal and interest are protected. If you’re buying a non-redeemable GIC, this means locking away your money for some time, so it’s important to pick a term that allows you to access your money when you think you’ll need it, and to shop around for a competitive interest rate. Keep in mind that if a GIC’s return is lower than the rate of inflation, your money could end up having less purchasing power at the end of your term than at the beginning. 

Don’t limit your search to the big banks. Find out about rates at other issuers and brokerages, and ensure proper insurance is provided. Bottom line, GICs can be a great component of a diversified investment portfolio, balancing out some of the higher-risk products. But if you can tolerate a little more risk, there may be better products on the market for you. 

How are GIC rates calculated? 

The payment terms for GICs depend on the issuer and the products themselves. GICs may pay interest monthly, every six months, annually, at maturity or on a predetermined/anniversary date. 

In addition to the payout schedule, you’ll want to understand how interest is compounded for the GIC you’re considering. 

  • With simple interest, the bank pays interest on the initial principal only. This means that if you invested $100,000 into a two-year GIC with a 1.25% return, you’d receive $1,250 in interest every year. So at the end of year two, the interest payout will total $2,500.
  • With compound interest, the bank pays interest on the initial principal and the interest earned at every interval. For the same investment as above, with compound interest, you’d earn $1,279.19 in interest after one year, and $2,515.52 at the end of the two-year period. That’s an extra $15.52. 

Clearly, compound interest is the higher-paying option, but also pay attention to the payout schedule. In the above scenario, there’s an annual payout, but if it had compounded monthly interest, you would earn even more—at the end of your two-year term, the CIC would have $2,530.18 in monthly compounded interest.

Remember that you are agreeing to the terms (the principal and how interest will be paid) when you sign the GIC contract. Once that’s done, you cannot change the terms and conditions. The payout terms will affect the amount of interest you will ultimately earn, so it’s important that you review them carefully. 

Can you negotiate GIC rates?

Yes. Most people don’t even think of negotiating when it comes to dealing with their bank, but having an in-person conversation can really pay off, particularly for those who have established relationships. If you’re unhappy with the GIC rate your bank is offering, ask for a better one. There’s no guarantee you’ll get it, but you can also shop around for a better GIC rate.

How does the Bank of Canada’s overnight rate affect GIC rates?

The Bank of Canada (BoC) sets a policy interest rate, also known as the benchmark or overnight rate. This is the interest rate at which financial institutions borrow or lend funds to each other, and it is almost always the lowest available rate at a given time. The policy interest rate is currently 4.50%. Financial institutions also have a prime rate, which moves in conjunction with the BoC’s overnight rate.

Changes in the prime rate affect the interest earned on GICs, high-interest savings accounts (HISAs) and other investment vehicles. When the overnight rate increases, individuals can earn higher interest on the aforementioned types of savings, because financial institutions have more flexibility to compete on the interest rates they offer. On the other hand, people who are retired or living on a fixed income from a savings fund can be negatively affected when the overnight rate drops.

Video: How the Bank of Canada’s interest rate affects you

Does inflation impact GIC rates?

GICs are term deposits, meaning that you essentially “lock” them in for a set amount of time. If, during that time, the inflation rate outpaces your interest rate, you’ll actually be losing money in real terms. In the example above, your $100,000 deposit would earn $1,250 in simple interest at the end of the term. But if the inflation rate is 2%, you’re actually losing 0.75%, or $750, annually. Deflation, on the other hand, can help your investments and increase the buying power of the money you earn. All of this is to say that inflation and deflation are important variables when you’re evaluating the GIC interest rates available to you. 

The best time to buy GICs

The best time to buy a GIC is when you’re saving up for a goal, like school tuition, a down payment or a trip. But it can also be good to invest in GICs when you’re feeling risk-averse. You might be considering a GIC as a way to balance your portfolio or to generate some passive income in retirement or if you’re taking time off work to raise your family, for example. While GICs don’t tend to have the highest interest rates of all the investment vehicles available to Canadians, they do offer a low-risk way to store money while earning some interest.

If you’re considering adding a GIC to your portfolio, you’ll want to pay attention to a few key numbers. The interest rate of the GIC itself is a good starting point. Generally, the higher the interest rate, the more attractive the product. It also pays to look at the likely rate of inflation or deflation you can expect during the term, to determine whether that factor is likely to eat into your profits or enhance them. If you find that the numbers work out, a GIC can be an excellent no-risk investment for a set period of time.

What other investment options are there?

Bonds are loans given to the government or a company and, like GICs, they are tied to a specified term. Bonds have variable return rates, depending on how they’re linked (government or corporate) but are more liquid than non-cashable GICs in that they can be sold in the market at any time. While they aren’t insured by the CDIC like GICs are, bonds offer easier access to your money if you suddenly need it. Bonds can also be held inside registered accounts like TFSAs, RRSPs and RESPs. 

ETFs are a collection of securities, like stocks, that increases or decreases in value according to an index. ETFs operate like mutual funds in that they’re linked to the stock market and can be traded, making them easy to buy and sell. You have to pay an annual management fee, called a management expense ratio (MER). The principal isn’t guaranteed like a GIC’s, but ETFs offer easy access to your money (you can sell ETF units anytime) and may have higher earning potential, depending on market conditions. ETFs can also be held inside registered accounts like TFSAs, RRSPs and RESPs. 

A mutual fund is a basket of investments that allows for diversification across stocks, bonds and other assets. It is professionally managed with an aim to outperform the market. As with ETFs, you have to pay a MER. A high MER could render a mutual fund’s returns dramatically less attractive, especially considering the added risk. Mutual funds may have higher growth potential than GICs, but the growth and principal aren’t guaranteed. Mutual funds can also be held inside TFSAs, RRSPs or RESPs. (Are you paying too much in fees? Find out.)

Stocks, also called equities, are an entitlement to a share of a corporation, and they are bought and sold on stock exchanges. Stocks offer the potential for high returns, but investing in them requires significant market and company research. Stock performance can be highly volatile, and individual stocks lack the built-in diversification of mutual funds and ETFs. That said, stocks can play a role in a diversified portfolio. They can also be held inside registered accounts. 

GICs vs high-interest savings accounts

If you’re looking for a secure, no-risk place to put your money that could also net you some interest, you might be considering a high-interest savings account (HISA) instead of a GIC. HISAs have some things in common with GICs, but the two are very different products. Their relative merits and drawbacks can be seen through how they handle interest rates and terms.  

While both GICs and HISAs offer interest, it is delivered differently. With a GIC, your interest rate is guaranteed for a fixed amount of time. So, for example, you might purchase a one-year GIC at a given rate. When you commit to investing for one year, you are guaranteed that interest rate at the end. Usually, the longer the term of a GIC, the higher the rate you will get. If you need access to your money before the GIC’s maturity date, the penalty for early withdrawal is typically a loss or reduction of interest earned. 

With a standard savings account, the interest rate can fluctuate on short notice, often in response to market forces and the Bank of Canada’s key lending rate. However, you can dip in to access your money whenever you like. (We compare the best high-interest savings accounts here.)

With this in mind, a GIC will typically serve you better when you’re saving for a specific goal to be purchased by a certain deadline, like a car or new furniture, or if you’re certain you won’t need the money until the maturity date. In these cases, you can put the money away with the peace of mind that your interest rate won’t spontaneously change. On the other hand, you can use a HISA for everyday saving or as an emergency fund. Both GICs and HISAs are secure. They’re both recognized as deposits and are therefore eligible for CDIC insurance when you bank at a CDIC member institution.

Are GICs taxable?

Whether or not the interest earned on a GIC is taxed depends on the type of account in which it is held. If you hold a GIC in a registered account, such as a TFSA or RRSP, the interest accumulates tax-free—although with an RRSP, the taxes are deferred until you withdraw the money from the account. If you hold a GIC in a non-registered account, such as a HISA, the interest income is treated as other forms of personal income and taxed at your marginal tax rate.

How can I purchase a GIC?

GICs are available from banks and other providers. But before you contact a GIC issuer, it’s important to decide how much you’d like to invest. Minimum investments can range from $100 to $5,000, depending on the institution. So the amount you’d like to invest will narrow down your options. Then, shop around for a variable or fixed rate and decide on the accessibility and flexibility you wish for the funds. Finally, once you know your requirements, contact the financial institution of your choosing to start the process of purchasing. Here’s what you need to know about the different methods of purchasing GICs.

  • Online/by phone: You will either have an existing account set up with the financial institution or will have to submit an application and pieces of identification to verify your identity, including your Social Insurance Number (SIN). Once the account is created and linked to your primary funding source (like a chequing account), the principal investment is withdrawn and the GIC is issued. The rate table above can connect you to some of the top options in Canada right now.
  • In person: You can go into a branch to purchase a GIC. Once again, the process is easier if you already have a profile set up with the financial institution, but if not, you’ll need to make an appointment with pieces of ID, including your SIN, complete an application and follow the institution’s process to fund and issue your GIC.

Deposit brokerage: Deposit brokerages help you do the research and are tuned into the best options on the market today. They also know which GIC issuers are eligible for CDIC coverage, to ensure your investment is protected in case of a bankruptcy. They work with multiple banks, so you can dig through an assortment of rates and terms to find the option that works best for your needs. The broker is paid by the financial institution. Consumers should always pay the financial institution directly—not the broker. As brokers often bring multiple consumers’ investments to banks, those consumers are sometimes able to benefit from better rates—similar to the benefits of shopping in bulk. 

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Frequently asked questions

Yes. Most people don’t even think of negotiating when it comes to dealing with their bank, but having an in-person conversation can really pay off, particularly for those who have established relationships. If you’re unhappy with the GIC rate your bank is offering, ask for a better one. There’s no guarantee you’ll get it, but you can also shop around for a better GIC rate.

Whether or not the interest earned on a GIC is taxed depends on the type of account in which it is held. If you hold a GIC in a registered account, such as a TFSA or RRSP, the interest accumulates tax-free—although with an RRSP, the taxes are simply deferred until you withdraw the money from the account. If you hold a GIC in a non-registered account, such as a high-interest savings account, the interest income is treated as other forms of personal income and taxed at your marginal tax rate.

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About Keph Senett

About Keph Senett

Whether she's exploring how to purchase a first home, pursue estate planning or identify the best credit card, Keph Senett writes about personal finance through a community-building lens. She acknowledges the role of financial health in empowering marginalized people and seeks to make clear and actionable knowledge available to everyone.