CFD Trading In Canada

With the demand for CFD trading in Canada increasing, many online platforms have emerged. But are CFDs even legal in Canada, and if so, what are the tax considerations? In answering both questions, we’ll explain why Canada offers one of the most secure trading environments, due in part, to the relatively low leverage options.

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What Is CFD Trading?

A contract for difference (CFD) is a derivative instrument, meaning you don’t buy or sell the underlying asset. Instead, you buy a number of units on a particular market, such as FX, and exchange the difference in value between the open and close of a position. Returns are calculated by multiplying the number of CFDs bought by each point of price movement.

Online CFDs are available on an array of markets, from stocks and shares through to forex, commodities, and cryptocurrencies. Also part of the CFD appeal is the ability to trade on leverage. Traders put down a deposit, called the margin, then their brokerage firm extends capital so they can take out larger contracts, which can lead to greater profits and losses. But as we’ll explain below, the leverage available for trading CFDs in Canada is limited due to strict regulatory oversight.

For further guidance on day trading CFDs, see here.

CFD trading in Canada is legal but heavily regulated. All firms operating in Canada or opening accounts for Canadian citizens must conform to the regulations set out by the Investment Industry Regulatory Organisation of Canada (IIROC). The IIROC is governed by The Financial Institutions Supervisory Committee (FISC).

At a local level, three other agencies oversee financial markets:

Before opening a trading account, check for the IIROC’s risk disclosure on the bottom of the provider’s website. Alternatively, the IIROC’s ‘Dealers we regulate’ page lists all regulated companies. Accounts with regulated Canadian firms will receive cash protection of up to C$1 million in the event of the them going bust.

Another requirement before you can start CFD trading in Canada is the verification of a range of information, including:

Leverage Limits

A key distinction when CFD trading in Canada vs other countries is the restriction on using leverage. To reduce the risk exposure for traders, the Rule 100 document from the IIROC lays out limits on margin requirements. Those limits mean you may struggle to borrow as much in Canada as you can in Australia or the UK, for example.

Trading Platforms

The best online CFD trading platform in Canada will change depending on who you ask. With that said, top providers offer easy-to-use desktop and mobile apps. Traders should be able to test strategies, construct charts, and perform technical analysis. The best CFD day trading software also delivers comprehensive historical data and risk management tools. Regularly featuring in the top 10 CFD platforms are the MetaTrader 4 (MT4) and MetaTrader 5 (MT5) systems.

Choosing a Brokerage Firm

Different companies offer different services and assets, so opt for the one that provides the best account support for the CFD markets you’re interested in. Also check for competitive fees. Most DMA and ECN brokerages make money through the spread, but some charge commissions and additional fees. Keeping transaction costs low is particularly important for active short-term CFD traders.

The best online CFD brokerages in Canada ensure prompt deposits and withdrawals. It’s worth exploring the additional education tools available too. Many providers have a social trader environment where other users explain how best to make CFD trades in Canada. Customer support during your usual trading hours should also be available.

Check out our complete list of top CFD firms here.


Make sure you’re aware of your tax obligations before you start day trading CFDs in Canada. You’ll need to keep a record of profits and losses, as well as details on; instrument, purchase and sale date, price, size, plus entry and exit points. With that information, you should be able to ascertain which activity bracket your trading falls into and therefore, whether returns should be recorded as business income or capital gains and losses.

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) requires taxes to be paid by the end of the tax year – 31st December. Late or non-payments can result in an audit from the CRA, who can issue fines and in worst-case scenarios, jail terms of up to five years.

For more information on day trading taxes in Canada, see here.

Final Word

CFD trading in Canada opens the door to a range of markets and platforms. Not only are CFDs legal, but the trader environment is one of the most secure and regulated in the world. However, while a relatively safe market, CFD trading in Canada may prove challenging if your strategy uses high leverage ratios.


What is a CFD in trading?

A contract for difference is a derivative instrument that allows you to speculate on price movements without owning the underlying security. If the market moves in your favour, the broker will pay you the difference in price between the open and close of your position. If the market moves against you, you’ll owe the broker the difference.

Yes – CFD trading is legal in Canada. Regulatory oversight by the Investment Industry Regulatory Organisation of Canada (IIROC) is among the strictest in the world.

Is CFD trading a con?

CFD trading is not a con, however, it is risky. It’s therefore important to sign up with a broker that is licensed with the Investment Industry Regulatory Organisation of Canada (IIROC).

How much money do I need to trade CFDs?

Although minimum account deposits vary between brokers, you can start day trading CFDs in Canada with C$250. It is worth shopping around for the best account as some brokers offer more attractive leverage options and trading tools the more you invest.

Can you make a living from CFD trading in Canada?

While it is possible to make a living CFD trading in Canada, the majority of traders will lose money. It’s important traders open accounts with their eyes open to the risks.