Forex Brokers and Regulatory Info for Canadian Residents

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Brokers for Canadians

Canadians have two directions they can go when selecting a broker: Locally regulated brokers with Canadian offices, or foreign regulated brokers either with a Canadian office or entirely offshore.

Local brokers are overseen by IIROC, Canada's national regulator, and IIROC is responsible for regulating not just forex but most tradable securities in Canada. By choosing a Canadian regulated broker, you'll have a local regulatory body to work with should anything go wrong with your broker.

However, IIROC also sets leverage restrictions pretty aggressively, and on a pair by pair basis, which a lot of traders find difficult to work with. The max leverage currently set is 33:1 on CAD crosses, most majors are 30:1 or 20:1, and exotics can drop down to as little as 3:1. These rates adjust frequently as they are set based on recent volatility in the underlying markets, so even a major forex pair that's liquid could see leverage get cut back should volatility increase. The restrictive and minimal leverage is one of the larger drawbacks to an IIROC regulated broker.

Most locally regulated brokers will be part of the CIPF, which insures client deposits in the event of broker insolvency. The max coverage per person (across all accounts,) is one million CAD. This is one of the most expansive protection insurance programs in the world for investors.


"Onshore" Brokers

Brokers with offices physically in Canada and who are registered and licensed by Canadian regulatory authorities (IIROC.) These brokers will typically be part of the CIPF program and offer some insurance against the broker going bust. As well, it is more common for these brokers to offer free bank transfers for deposits and withdrawals with local Canadian banks.

On shore, IIROC regulated (variable leverage per pair maxing out ~33:1 on CAD crosses,) with CIPF deposit protection:


Oanda Canada

Oanda is one of the oldest retail online brokers still around. They were founded in Toronto, Canada in the late 90's and grew globally from there. Oanda's offering in Canada is on par with their US and Euro offering when it comes to spreads and platforms (in contrast, Oanda Japan has much more competitive spreads but only services Japan residents.) Oanda is also known as one of the largest market maker style retail brokers around, meaning they set their own prices on currency pairs and do not offer an "ECN" type account that might source quotes from an external market source. That said, their pricing is still generally fair during active market hours.

  • Regulation: IIROC in Canada (and other regulatory bodies globally depending on client residency) with CIPF insurance on account funds
  • Pricing: Spreads average around 1.4 to 2+ pips for majar pairs and are in line with other local Canadian brokers, but are not as competitive as other offshore (but well regulated) broker options
    • NOTE: It's been observed that spreads on Oanda's platform can get quite wide during less liquid times like daily rollover and holidays (vs the industry average as all brokers will have wider spreads during these times) so it's advised if you trade with tight stops or are a scalper to be aware of this and manage your positions accordingly
  • Leverage: IIROC set leverage as described atop this page
  • Products: Forex and CFDs on commodities
  • Platforms: Oanda Desktop (proprietary), MetaTrader 4 (MT4 Desktop, Web, and Mobile), and NEW tradingview.com TradingView integrated chart trading) as a platform option

NOTE: As with all IIROC regulated brokers, this brokers complies with provincial regulatory laws which include accredited investor status for residents of Alberta. Albertians looking for alternatives can skip to the offshore brokers section below.

Gain Capital / forex.com

Gain Capital (also branded as forex.com) is a US broker with a Canadian presence. They are also one of the oldest online retail forex brokers and have a long history in this industry. Their Canadian offering is fair and competitive with other locally (IIROC) regulated broker options for traders, and they have invested in building up a Canadian office and presence which is always a nice plus when foreign brokers offer services to Canadians.


  • Regulation: IIROC in Canada (and other regulatory bodies globally depending on client residency) with CIPF insurance on account funds
  • Pricing: Spreads average around 1.4 to 2+ pips for majar pairs and are in line with other local Canadian brokers, but are not as competitive as other offshore (but well regulated) broker options
  • Leverage: IIROC set leverage as described atop this page
  • Products: Forex and CFDs on commodities
  • Platforms: Proprietary (desktop), MetaTrader 4 (MT4 Desktop, Web, and Mobile)

NOTE: As with all IIROC regulated brokers, this brokers complies with provincial regulatory laws which include accredited investor status for residents of Alberta. Albertians looking for alternatives can skip to the offshore brokers section below.


CMC Markets

  • Canadian branch (Toronto) of UK firm
  • IIROC set leverage (33:1 max on CAD crosses and 20:1 or less on all others.)
  • Platforms: Proprietary (desktop), MetaTrader 4 (MT4 Desktop, Web, and Mobile)
  • Heavy focus on CFDs outside of forex, which are often not very well priced (marked up spreads) vs their underlying commodity
  • Adheres to Alberta's accredited investor requirement to trade Forex, so Alberta residents need to have a significant net worth before they can open an account.

NOTE: As with all IIROC regulated brokers, this brokers complies with provincial regulatory laws which include accredited investor status for residents of Alberta. Albertians looking for alternatives can skip to the offshore brokers section below.


Interactive Brokers Canada​

  • Canadian branch (Montreal) of a larger US firm
  • IIROC set leverage (33:1 max on CAD crosses and 20:1 or less on all others.)
  • Minimum $2.5 USD commission per side of each trade, so not cost effective unless you're trading a minimum of $50k+ notional ticket size
  • Platforms: Traders Workstation (proprietary)
  • Adheres to Alberta's accredited investor requirement to trade Forex, so Alberta residents need to have a significant net worth before they can trade leveraged FX.

NOTE: As with all IIROC regulated brokers, this brokers complies with provincial regulatory laws which include accredited investor status for residents of Alberta. Albertians looking for alternatives can skip to the offshore brokers section below.


Offshore brokers

Brokers who can service Canadian residents, can be well regulated with access to much higher leverage and tighter spreads, but lack deposit insurance and will likely have limited fee based funding methods.

  • Brokers regulated by overseas entities like the FCA in the UK, or ASIC in Australia, still provide recourse should something go wrong. However, as Canadian residents, dealing with an overseas regulatory body may not be as easy as dealing with a local regulator should a complaint need to be made.
  • Offshore deposit protection insurance programs exist but are not guaranteed by a local body. Your own due diligence is required here.


BlackBull Markets

https://blackbullmarkets.com

Blackbull was founded in 2014 and is one of the faster growing fintech companies in New Zealand. They are regulated by the FMA in New Zealand as well as registered with the FSPR as a financial services entity. Blackbull Markets accepts Canadian residents (including residents of Alberta without an accredited investor status,) and accepts Interac Online for deposits, making them well integrated with most Canadian banks.

  • Regulation: Regulated in New Zealand by the FMA, and registered as a financial service company with the Financial Services Provider Registry (FSPR)
  • Pricing: Decent spreads of ~0.1-0.3 on EUR/USD (plus commissions) and comparable spreads to most competitive Aussie brokers on their ECN Prime account, and spreads starting from 0.8 pips on their ECN Standard account without commissions
  • Leverage: Up to 500:1 leverage for Canadians on Forex, Metals, Crypto, Index, and Share CFDs
  • Account Minimums: $200 USD or AUD for all account types
  • Products: Forex, CFDs on Equity Indicies, Oil, Nat Gas, Gold, and Silver
  • Platforms: MetaTrader 4, MetaTrader 5, and MetaTrader's respective mobile and web apps
  • Notes:
    • Islamic account types (swap/interest free) available
    • Accounts defaulted to USD but CAD denominated accounts are an option
    • Accepts Alberta residents without accredit investor status requirement


Pacific Union Prime

https://puprime.com

Pacific Union Prime has their roots in institutional forex trading services going back to 2015, and recently entered the retail forex industry by opening up their service to retail clients. They are a global broker with offices around the world, including a support office in Canada, but are primarily based out of Australia. They accept Canadian clients and offer Interac eTransfers for deposit, making them easy to fund and use for Canadian residents.

  • Regulation: SFSA regulated out of the Seychelles for Canadian clients, with other entities regulated globally
  • Pricing: Much lower average spreads (0.0-0.2 average EUR/USD on Prime Account) compared to Canadian "onshore" brokers
  • Leverage: Up to 500:1 leverage for Canadians
  • Products: Forex, Metals, Crypto, Index, and Share CFDs, over 200 CFD products in general (NOTE: shares trade like stocks with raw spreads but stock commissions per trade, this broker does a great job being competitive with Forex, but we encourage you to look at a proper stock broker if you are interested in share trading)
  • Platforms: MetaTrader 4, MetaTrader 5, WebTrader, and MT4/5 mobile
  • Notes:
    • Good alternative for Canadian clients of VantageFX as VasntageFX will stop servicing the Canadian market on Nov 30th, 2020
    • Accepts Alberta residents without accredit investor status requirement
    • Accounts denominated in CAD for Canadian clients, plus other major currency denomination options (EUR, USD, etc..)
    • No fee Visa Debit, MasterCard Debit, and Credit Card deposits / withdrawals
    • No fee Interac e-Transfer Deposits


Note on other offshore brokers

While many other offshore brokers exist, and some also take Canadians, it's important to remember the importance of sticking with well regulated brokers.

A troubling trend seen lately in the forex industry is when a broker will hold themselves out as well regulated (usually FCA,) but funnel Canadian clients to a division operating in a much more relaxed regulatory jurisdiction (often Cyprus, or Seychelles.)

The brokers listed above are well regulated and are upfront about their regulatory status.