Interactive Brokers Canada Review (2024): Top Choice for Advanced Traders

If you are starting to take trading more seriously or have a large portfolio, you must look at Interactive Brokers.

I will take a look at this discount broker that has made it across the border from the US to make its services available to Canadians. 

It makes my list as one of the best trading platforms in Canada and the top choice for professional traders.

Check out this Interactive Brokers Canada review to see if it will be a good fit for you.

Our Verdict
Interactive Brokers Canada Review
8.8

Interactive Brokers

Online Broker / Trading Platform

An excellent online broker for the serious traders out there. If you trade options, buy and sell heavy volumes, and want access to global markets, Interactive Brokers is a good trading platform for you. 

Pros

  • Excellent for advanced traders or those with large portfolios
  • Access to over 150 markets worldwide
  • ETFs and more 
  • Very low foreign currency conversion fees
  • Multiple regulations in several countries
  • Trader education package for professional traders
  • Educational resources through IBKR Campus for professional traders and self-directed individual investors 
  • No account minimums or inactivity fees 

Cons

  • Complicated process to open an account
  • Complex desktop trading platform
  • Customer response is not ideal

What is Interactive Brokers Canada?

Interactive Brokers Logo

Interactive Brokers Canada is the Canadian affiliate of the global brokerage Interactive Brokers, which is headquartered in the US and was founded in 1978. Reputed for its competitive trading fees and commissions, advanced technology and broad range of global investment products, the company has offices in the US, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Switzerland, Hungary, India, China, Japan, Singapore, Australia and serves clients in over 200 countries and territories worldwide.

In Canada, it is a member of the Canadian Investment Regulatory Organization (CIRO) and the Canadian Investors Protection Fund (CIPF).

Interactive Brokers Canada allows you to capitalize on its proprietary ‘SmartRouting’ technology to search for and avail the best market prices, connecting to over 150 markets in 34 countries. You can trade global stocks, options, futures, currencies, bonds, ETFs and more from a single unified platform.

Interactive Brokers Canada was established in December 2000 and provides Canadians with high-speed access to trade in markets around the world.

Features and Benefits of Interactive Brokers Canada

In this section of my Interactive Brokers Canada review, I will discuss the platform’s features and benefits so you know what to expect from it.

Interactive Brokers Canada Pricing and Fees

Interactive Brokers Canada Review infographic

Interactive Brokers Canada offers two pricing structures depending on how much you trade:

  • Tiered Pricing
  • Fixed Pricing

The tiered pricing structure is the low broker commission that the platform charges you. The platform decreases the commission depending on the monthly volume traded plus the applicable exchange, regulatory, and/or clearing fees. If you get a rebate from the currency exchange, Interactive Brokers pass some or all of the savings back to you.

Trade volume per month is tiered to make trade commissions substantially lower for high-volume trades (note these are for Canadian stocks in CAD):

  • Up to 300,000 shares per month and $0.008 per share
  • 300,001 – 3,000,000 shares per month $0.005 per share
  • 3,000,001 – 20,000,000 shares per month and $0.004 per share
  • 20,000,001 – 100,000,000 shares per month $0.003 per share

The higher the number of shares you trade per month, the lower the commission your fee becomes per share. However, most retail traders will never even come close to 300,000 shares per month.

Interactive Brokers Canada’s fixed charges see a fixed low commission per share or a set percentage value of the total trade amount. The fixed rate comes inclusive of all exchange and regulatory fees. The transaction fees are passed through on stock sales for US stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and warrants.

For its fixed rate, the charges are $0.01 per share with a minimum of $1 per order or maximum of 0.5% of trade value.

Example: If you buy 200 shares of a company worth $50 CAD for a total cost of $10,000, you will be charged the tiered rate of $0.008 * 200 + $0.01 * 20 = (1.6 + 0.2) = $1.80 – This is super cheap!

You can see the full fee schedule for Interactive Brokers Canada here, which includes USD rates, which are even cheaper.

Accounts Offered by Interactive Brokers Canada

You can open several types of accounts with Interactive Brokers Canada that can cater to a variety of financial goals you may have:

  • Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA)
  • Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP)
  • Individual Account – Owned and used by one individual
  • Joint Account – Owned and used by two individuals
  • Trust – Account held by a Trustee as a separate legal entity for the client’s benefit
  • Individual Retirement Account – IRA is only available to US clients
  • UGMA/UTMA – Account for minors only available to US clients
  • Friends and Family Account – An account for a client group of up to 15 people
  • Small Business Account – Account for small corporations and businesses
  • Advisor Account – Account for individuals who manage both client administration and money
  • Money Manager Account – Account for individuals hired on behalf of another advisor

Investment Products

Here’s an in-depth look at the range of investment products available through Interactive Brokers Canada:

  1. Stocks: As with most brokerage platforms, you can trade a wide range of individual stocks listed on various exchanges. Whether you’re interested in Canadian, U.S., or international stocks, Interactive Brokers Canada offers access to a global selection.
  2. Options: IB Canada provides a robust options trading platform. This includes the ability to trade both calls and puts, along with various strategies such as spreads and straddles.
  3. Futures: Futures contracts allow you to speculate on the future price of commodities, indices, or financial instruments. Interactive Brokers Canada offers access to futures markets.
  4. Forex (Foreign Exchange): The forex market is the largest and most liquid financial market globally. Interactive Brokers Canada provides access to forex trading, allowing you to trade major and minor currency pairs.
  5. Bonds: Fixed-income investors can trade bonds. This includes government bonds, corporate bonds, and other fixed-income securities.
  6. ETFs (Exchange-Traded Funds): ETFs are popular investment vehicles that provide exposure to various asset classes and sectors.
  7. Mutual Funds: IB Canada offers access to mutual funds, providing investors with a diversified way to invest in a portfolio of assets.
  8. Cryptocurrencies: While not as extensive as some specialized cryptocurrency exchanges, IB Canada does offer access to select cryptocurrencies, allowing traders to participate in this emerging asset class.

Interactive Brokers Canada Platform Ease of Use

Interactive Brokers Canada is a particularly useful platform when it comes to more professional traders, but also offers platforms and tools suitable for beginning investors.

The flagship platform offered by Interactive Brokers is called the Trader Workstation (TWS), and it supports trading of any kind of equity you can imagine, including global assets. TWS is a sophisticated desktop trading platform that might go over the heads of any casual investors, but it can be ideal for professional investors.

Simply put, if you are not an experienced trader, it is a steep learning curve to use TWS.

However, Interactive Brokers has recently introduced several new and intuitive platforms including IBKR Desktop and IBKR GlobalTrader that have powerful trading capabilities in a user-friendly interface for novice and experienced traders alike. IBKR Deskop is the next-generation desktop trading application for Windows and Mac, engineered for today’s traders who demand simplicity but value Interactive Brokers’ powerful trading tools. IBKR Desktop offers global access to stocks, options, and futures on over 150 markets, along with exclusive trading tools designed to elevate investment strategies. IBKR Desktop is simplified and streamlined for faster and easier navigation. IBKR GlobalTrader is a simple mobile app for global stock and options trading that includes features like the Options Wizard that can help you understand how options work and how to trade them. 

Additional information on IBKR’s trading platforms: https://www.interactivebrokers.ca/en/trading/trading-platforms.php 

Interactive Brokers Canada Research

Interactive Brokers offers a comprehensive selection of Research and News providers and services including over 100 services out of the box. Free research is available from top providers like Morningstar. A recently launched News & Research Tool is easy to use and customize and features a Daily Overview home page displaying timely, high-quality coverage on portfolio and watchlist holdings and recently traded symbols, as well as customized views and filtered news with over 40 filters for honed search results. 

Additional Information: https://www.interactivebrokers.ca/en/trading/fif-news-and-research.php 

Other Tools and Services: 

Interactive Brokers also provides access to many tools to help investors identify investment opportunities and simplify trading including:  

Advanced Multi-Sort Screening: An innovative new screening tool available exclusively through IBKR Deskop that can sort data using multiple factors simultaneously.  

Powerful Market Screeners: Screeners for stocks, options, futures, bonds, indexes and more plus a free bond search tool 

Discover Tool: Helps discover ideas and new market for potential investments using data provided by Trading Central, illio and Acuity.

Additional information: https://www.interactivebrokers.ca/en/trading/fif-discover-tool.php 

Securities Lending Dashboard: Provides a snapshot of securities lending market data plus additional market intelligence. 

Additional Information: https://www.interactivebrokers.ca/en/trading/securities-lending-dashboard.php  

Fundamentals Explorer: Comprehensive, worldwide fundamentals data on over 30,000 companies that lets investors deep dive into hundreds of data points. 

Additional Information: https://www.interactivebrokers.ca/en/trading/fundamentals-explorer.php 

Recurring Investments: Investors can setup and execute a predetermined investment strategy by automatically investing funds on a recurring schedule. Canadian shares are available. 

Additional Information:  https://www.interactivebrokers.ca/en/trading/recurring-investments.php

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Education 

IBKR Campus: This portal was redesigned in February 2023 and is available free of charge on the Interactive Brokers website for anyone and is an important resource and way to communicate with market participants. It provides the educational content needed to navigate any trading environment and investors can take advantage of the materials available through IBKR Campus to learn about and broaden your understanding of the markets, trading, and Interactive Brokers’ platforms and tools. This educational resources is available for both clients and non-clients and includes market commentary, webinars, podcasts and courses. 

Additional Information: https://ibkrcampus.com/ 

Portfolio Analytics: This powerful analytics tool can consolidate, track and analyze an investor’s entire financial portfolios. It can link external accounts including investment, checking, savings, and credit cards, and offers advanced reporting, global support, benchmarks, risk metrics and more. A new Dynamic Analytics Dashboard features integrated, real-time reporting and simple access to portfolio movers, allocations, risk measures and more.  

Other Services and Features: 

Retirement Planner: Investors can easily build a retirement outlook and plan for the future tool with this intuitive and powerful tool. Retirement Planner generates a Retirement Outlook based on a user’s current assets and projected asset growth. It considers personal retirement preferences, current and future employment expectations, monthly expenses and more, and consolidates information from Interactive Brokers and external accounts. 

Overnight Trading Hours: IBKR’s Overnight Trading Hours service lists over 10,000 US stocks and ETFs. Interactive Brokers was one of the first brokers to introduce Overnight Trading on US stocks and ETFs, and the offering allows investors to trade a broad range of US equities nearly 24 hours a day, five days a week. 

Additional Information: https://www.interactivebrokers.ca/en/trading/us-overnight-trading.php 

Fractional Share Trading: Interactive Brokers offers Fractional Shares in all stocks and ETFs listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange and on CBOE Canada, plus all eligible US and European stocks and ETFs.

Additional Information: https://www.interactivebrokers.ca/en/trading/fractional-trading.php 

Options Wizard: Investors can learn about and start trading options with this tool. 

Additional Information: https://www.interactivebrokers.ca/en/trading/fif-options-wizard.php 

Interactive Brokers Canada Customer Service

Interactive Brokers Canada has a multilingual support desk that operates from various offices around the world. Most of them are available with over 15 different phone lines for clients across various countries to get support.

Interactive Brokers also offers Ask iBot for addressing more straightforward concerns or queries that might not require a person’s help. IBot is an Artificial Intelligence-powered resource that provides access to a wide spectrum of information, account data, trading tools and help from Client Services. IBot allows clients to trade and manage their accounts on any IBKR platform and facilitates finding FAQs that

Many customers have complained about the horrible customer support from the platform. The platform is more suitable for the needs of professional traders who are well-versed in its policies.

Casual or beginner traders might find it challenging to adjust to the platform, and its customer support is known for not answering for days.

The Good

Interactive Brokers Canada Review

Security and Regulation

Here’s a detailed overview of the security measures and regulatory framework in place:

  1. Account Protection: Interactive Brokers Canada provides multiple layers of security for your accounts. This includes two-factor authentication (2FA), encryption of sensitive data, and secure login procedures.
  2. Segregation of Client Funds: The platform follows strict protocols for segregating client funds from its operational capital. This ensures that your funds remain separate and protected even in the event of the broker’s financial difficulties.
  3. Regulatory Oversight: Interactive Brokers Canada operates under the oversight of regulatory bodies such as Canadian Investment Regulatory Organization of Canada (CIRO) the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) and the Canadian Investors Protection Fund (CIPF). These organizations ensure that the broker complies with industry regulations and safeguards clients’ interests.
  4. Compliance with Global Standards: Beyond Canadian regulations, Interactive Brokers is recognized globally for its adherence to financial industry standards. It operates in multiple countries and complies with various international regulations.
  5. Data Protection: Interactive Brokers Canada is committed to protecting your personal and financial data. It employs advanced data security measures to prevent unauthorized access or breaches.
  6. Regular Audits: The broker undergoes regular audits and financial assessments to maintain transparency and demonstrate its financial stability.

Alternatives to Interactive Brokers Canada

When I think of alternatives to Interactive Brokers Canada, Questrade, Qtrade, and Wealthsimple come to mind. Here’s a comparison of Interactive Brokers Canada with these Canadian discount brokers.

Interactive Brokers Canada vs. Questrade

Questrade is one of the most popular discount broker products in Canada. It offers some of the lowest trading fees among online brokers in Canada except for Interactive Brokers.

Questrade has a $1,000 minimum account balance before you can start investing. Interactive Brokers does not have a minimum account balance required before you can start trading with the platform.

However, Questrade offers more intuitive trading solutions for investors. It is suitable for both beginner-level and professional investors. 

Interactive Brokers offers many new intuitive platforms and tools that can be used by beginning investors, yet powerful enough for experienced traders. These include IBKR Desktop, IBKR GlobalTrader and the Options Wizard.

Find my full Interactive Brokers vs Questrade comparison here.

You can also check out a more comprehensive review of Questrade here.

Interactive Brokers Canada vs. Qtrade

Qtrade, not to be confused with Questrade, is another discount broker product available to Canadians. Qtrade is a product suitable for Canadian investors who want to focus on Canadian and US markets. 

It’s been around since 2000, has no mutual fund fees, and has low trading fees. It also requires no minimum deposit while offering several types of accounts you can open.

Read my full Qtrade review here.

Interactive Brokers Canada vs. Wealthsimple

Wealthsimple is the trading platform offered by Wealthsimple, Canada’s most popular robo-advisor product. Only available as a smartphone app, the platform allows you to buy and sell ETFs and stocks without paying commissions. It has no minimum account balance requirement like Interactive Brokers. 

It does not support a lot of account types. It became the first zero-commission platform to trade ETFs and stocks in Canada when it launched. While a similar offering is available with Interactive Brokers, IBKR Lite is not available in Canada as of writing. 

You can check out my Wealthsimple Trade review to get a better look at the platform.

Conclusion

Interactive Brokers offers many new intuitive platforms and tools that can be used by beginning investors, yet powerful enough for experienced traders. These include IBKR Desktop, IBKR GlobalTrader and the Options Wizard.

If you cannot figure out how to use the platform, you might find it useless to help you. For casual investors, I would recommend using a more straightforward platform.

I would like to conclude my Interactive Brokers Canada review by saying that it gets a Wealth Awesome thumbs up for veteran traders. Check out my full list of the best trading platforms in Canada here.

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Author Bio - Christopher Liew is a CFA Charterholder with 11 years of finance experience and the creator of Wealthawesome.com. Read about how he quit his 6-figure salary career to travel the world here.

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5 thoughts on “Interactive Brokers Canada Review (2024): Top Choice for Advanced Traders”

  1. Serious system error
    I am day trader.
    I have Apple stocks for a while, and the average price is about 162 dollars before January 19. On January 19, I bought in 5 Apple stocks on the price 170 dollars. On January 20, the average price of my Apple stocks was changed to about 172 dollars. And I didn’t buy in any Apple stocks afterwards. How is this possible? This issue is very serious. What happened to the average price of my Apple stocks?
    I have called your Chinese Services in Canada to report this issue, and looking for resolutions. They didn’t give me any reasonable answers, just hanging up my phone. Then I tried to call them again. But your Chinese Service was suspended. This is very frustrating experience for the services.

    Reply
  2. Good review. Andrew Hallam says, though, as a Canadian he will not use interactive because of possible US inheritence tax possible. This may be due to the fact that interactive is domiciled in US. Any comment on that?

    Reply
    • Hey Joe, that is very interesting. It appears from the quick research I did that the matter is quite complicated, and yes there is potential for US estate taxes if your assets are over 60,000 and domiciled in the U.S. This will probably affect my rating of IB and I’ll adjust it later on, as it is a big deal.

      Reply

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