After looking through hundreds of reviews and discussing firsthand experiences amongst our Million Dollar Journey Editorial Team, we’re proud to present our Best Canadian Robo Advisors for 2022.

Canada’s robo advisors are unquestionably the easiest, most user-friendly way to automate investment success by taking a part of your paycheque each month, and turning it into a diversified investment portfolio!  

With assets under management predicted to rise from just over $10 Billion CAD in 2020 to roughly $21 Billion in 2023, robo advisors have proven that they are here to stay!

Canadian Robo Advisors Quick Comparison

star rating4.8 / 5
Management Fees

0.4% - 0.5%

Account Minimum

None

Best robo advisor in Canada - low fees, easy to sign up and world class platform and mobile app.
star rating4.4 / 5
Management Fees

0.20% - 0.25%

Account Minimum

$1,000

No Available Promotion

Lowest Fees, good platform and app, operated by Questrade. Investment strategies are fairly basic.
star rating4.2 / 5
Management Fees

0.35% - 0.60%

Account Minimum

$1,000 For Canadian Residents

Best Robo Advisor for Canadian expats. Slightly higher fees but excellent service and financial advice + attractive promo offer valid for 1 year, new clients only.
Star Rating3.7 / 5
Management Fees

0.40% - 0.70%

Account Minimum

$5,000

No Available Promo

Best big bank Robo Advisor. Higher fees but quite possibly the best platform and mobile app - makes investing extremely easy.
star rating3.6 / 5
Management Fees

0.4% - 0.5%

Account Minimum

$5,000

Best choice for large accounts - competitve fees and a very attractive welcome bonus. No mobile app and fairly high account minimum.

Before we dive into more detail in our 2022 Best Canadian Robo Advisor picks, let’s take a step back to decide if robo advisors are the best fit for you.

If you are:

1) Looking to get into investing but not sure how to start? 

2) Looking for the easiest possible way to get math-backed investment returns for the long term?

3) Want to “set it and forget it” when it comes to your investments – as opposed to checking your online brokerage account each month?

4) Or maybe you are an experienced investor, but are simply looking for a passive investment strategy that requires minimal effort?

Then Canada’s top robo advisors might be the perfect way to build your nest egg.

Wealthsimple – Canada’s Best Robo Advisor

Wealthsimple is the MDJ editorial team’s consensus top pick for the best robo advisor in Canada – and it’s not even close to be honest.

Why? Read our full Wealthsimple Review (which includes a unique promo) for all of the details, but here’s a quick breakdown of just why they are head and shoulders above their competitors.

1) Their user experience is simply one of the best of any online product we’ve ever seen.  Both their website and app are objectively beautiful and efficient, while being newbie-friendly at the same time.

2) They make it so easy to get on board and start investing.  Wealthsimple has consistently refined their onboarding process and while other robo advisors have improved, Wealthsimple Invest is still just the quickest and easiest way to get started with investing.

3) Wealthsimple’s fees are amongst the lowest in Canada for any level of assets.

4) They continue to innovate new products and bring them to their platform.  With everything from Simpletax to crypto now under one umbrella, the company has proven it can continue to evolve.

5) Having just closed a record round of funding, Wealthsimple has virtually guaranteed that it will have more resources to continue to grow and improve than any other Canadian robo advisor.

Questwealth Portfolios – The Cheapest Robo Advisor

Questwealth is considered to be a hybrid robo advisor – which means they have more of a human aspect to them than a traditional robo. 

As an investor, you get to choose from five different portfolios depending on your risk tolerance: Aggressive, Growth, Balanced, Income, and Conservative. They also offer socially responsible investing options. 

What makes Questwealth one of the top robo advisors Canada is their fees. 

Questwealth Portfolios have some of the lowest fees on the market. Management fees are 0.2-0.25% per year and the average MER is 0.19% (although MERs for SRIs are higher). So if you are someone who wants a robo with rock bottom fees, Questwealth might be your best pick.

Personally, I’m not a fan of their active management philosophy, but that’s just me. You can Learn more about Questwealth Portfolios in our review page.

CI Direct Investing – Best For Canadian Expats

CI Direct Investing was formerly known as WealthBar, but rebranded in August of 2020. 

They are currently the only robo advisor in Canada that caters to expats – so they have a special place in our hearts.

Keep in mind, account minimums increase significantly (to $25,000) for expats but since it’s the only option, it’s worth it. 

CI Direct Investing makes it incredibly easy for expats to invest using a robo investor while abroad. On top of the $25,000 account minimum mentioned above, you will need an account statement from a Canadian bank account, an electronic document issued by either a Canadian government agency or cell phone or utility company, your SIN, any foreign tax or ID number that you have been issued, and a signature. 

That’s it! 

You don’t need a Canadian address and you only have to worry about paying the same taxes as you would anywhere else as a Canadian non-resident. 

If you have any concerns, there is always an advisor available to answer any questions you may have. Like a couple other robo advisors on this list, CI Direct operates as a hybrid robo and offers investors unlimited financial advice. As for portfolios, CI Direct offers five options ranging from conservative to aggressive. 

They currently have a very attractive welcome bonus offer where you get $10,000 managed for free for the first year after you join. The offer is only for new clients and can’t be combined with other offers.

Take a look at my CI Direct Investing review to learn more. 

BMO SmartFolio – Best Option Out Of The Big Banks

BMO SmartFolio is our pick for best robo advisor at a Canadian big bank. 

As they are an extremely recognizable brand, many Canadians feel really safe using the BMO robo advisor because it combines the tried and trusted – with the new technology of the fintech world.

Due to their big bank roots, BMO SmartFolio is a little more expensive than some of the other robo advisors on this list – but they have become more competitive in their fees during 2021.

Another important factor to consider with BMO SmartFolio is that you can keep your whole “financial life under one roof” so to speak. 

Online banks have a lot of perks – there is no denying that – but, there is also a lot of value in simplicity and a sense of security in keeping your chequing, mortgage, loan, and investments all in the same place.

If you know and trust BMO – and have been a customer there for years – then that is definitely a factor worth considering when choosing a robo advisor in Canada. It’s a lot easier to keep tabs on all of your financial information and accounts at one place (or on one app!) than to continually toggle back and forth between multiple institutions. 

Check out our BMO Smartfolio review for a complete breakdown of the tradeoffs involved with our favourite big bank robo advisor.

RBC InvestEase – Good (But Pricey)

RBC is another big Canadian Bank with a robo advisor that is worth noting. 

RBC’s robo advisor is relatively new; it rolled out Canada-wide in 2018 (yes, you can use this robo advisor in Quebec!).

RBC collaborated with BlackRock Asset Management Canada Limited and created RBC iShares ETF which is the largest and most comprehensive ETF offering in the country. With more than 150 ETFs, they have quickly become a powerhouse when it comes to Canadian robo advisors.

RBC InvestEase doesn’t have the lowest fees in the world and the lack of account options leave a lot to be desired. However, they make it really easy and straightforward to invest, plus, have the bonus of having a well-known reputable name behind them which makes them a popular choice.

We prefer Smartfolio when it comes to the head-to-head clash of big bank robos, but try them both out if you want to compare for your own preferences.

More than anything, the massive advantage that RBC Investease has is that so many Canadians use their other products, and it’s just simply easier to go with what you know! Read our full RBC Investease review first.

2022 addition: read our JustWealth review and Nest Wealth review!

What is a Robo Advisor and Should I Use One?

Instead, it simply means your investment strategy is so simple that it can automatically be done by a basic calculation program – once you point it in the right direction.

Using a robo advisor is simple. You add money to your account (whenever you choose) and it is invested into exchange-traded funds (ETFs) based on your chosen risk level. You can do everything from adding money to your account to tracking your process online via the website or app. 

These exchange traded funds all track big indexes and invest your money into hundreds of the largest companies in the world according to how big they are, as well as hundreds of government bonds.  This “own the whole market” strategy is known as index investing or “couch potato investing” and is based on the mathematical solutions found by Nobel award winners.

The largest pool of money in the world (Norway’s Sovereign Wealth Fund) and nearly all major university endowments (such as the billions that Harvard manages) are invested using index investing.

For a long time, robo advisors were marketed to young people who were just starting to invest. However, that’s no longer the case. Robo advisors can be beneficial investors of all ages, and are a superior option to traditional mutual funds in both fees and investing strategy.

Robo advisors are ideal for those who are more interested in a set it and forget it type of strategy. One of the biggest draws for robo advisors is that, because they are automated, they are often quite inexpensive and require low or no minimum opening balance.

Canada has dozens of robo advisors to choose from. It’s not a ‘one size fits all’ type strategy and there are several things to consider.

How to Choose The Best Robo Advisor For You

In the Canadian robo advisor comparison above I’ve listed what I believe are the best choices when it comes to the best Canadian robo advisors for 2022. However, while I highly recommend you read through the mini-reviews above, there are a few other things you need to consider when choosing the best robo advisor for you.

Robo Advisor Fees In Canada

As mentioned earlier, part of what makes robo advisors so popular is that they are much cheaper than using a financial advisor. This has nothing to do with quality. A robo advisor isn’t the ‘cheap’ option. Rather, robo advisors are able to cut costs because they are not recommending very expensive mutual funds.

Other factors that play a role in the lower fees are the lack of overhead costs that brick-and-mortar type businesses have to deal with, as well as the fact that robo advisors have lower profit margins. 

Of course, there are still fees to be mindful of when choosing a robo advisor. These include management fees which are charged by the robo advisor itself. You will also have to pay the Management Expense Ratio (MER) which is charged by the ETF. 

Canadian Robo Advisor Investment Returns

Too many people make the mistake of looking at Canadian robo advisor returns, and making their decision based on a metric that is useless.

Keep in mind, since robo advisors usually rely on passive investing in ETFs, you aren’t likely to see any huge returns, or a big difference in robo advisor investment returns between competitors. 

According to The Millionaire Teacher author Andrew Hallam in his article for the Globe and Mail, history and studies show that humans are pretty good at sabotaging their investments, even those who think they are going to rely on a passive strategy. For this reason, robo advisors are considered incredibly valuable – they take that temptation out of our hands meaning a better chance at higher returns. 

Compare that to mutual funds, which are actively managed and completely open to that temptation. I’ve already made it clear that I’m not a fan of mutual funds at all, but this is part of the reason why.

We’ve seen time and time again that people have this assumption that they can beat the market with these tweaks based on what they hear on the news or their own personal biases. But the fact is this does more harm than good. Research shows that passive management outperforms active management.

The Human Aspect

Next up you want to consider the human aspect. 

For some individuals, the fact that there can be very little human involvement with a robo advisor isn’t an issue at all. However, some find that daunting and would prefer a more human touch. Some robo advisors have adapted to this and incorporated more human elements into their offerings. 

Keep in mind, just because a robo advisor doesn’t offer face-to-face human interaction doesn’t mean that there is nobody to talk to. There are still advisors to speak to via email, phone, or online chat. They are there to help you get started, help you determine your risk tolerance, and to answer any of your questions. You aren’t completely left on your own, assistance is there if you need it. However, on the same page, if you don’t need the assistance you don’t have to use it. 

In my experience, the folks behind the screen at robo advisor offices can help answer all but the most niche/advanced questions that Canadians have.  For example, they can answer any TFSA vs RRSP questions, but perhaps aren’t yet ready for your income trust “tax management” follow ups.

Robo Advisor Account Types

You will also want to take a look at the different account types offered by the robo advisors as some have more choices than others. If you are just looking for a robo advisor for your TFSA, or a robo advisor for your RRSP, then you have a lot to choose from. But, if you are looking for something more specific, like a robo advisor for your RESP, then make sure to check and make sure that type of account is offered.

A few robos, such as RBC InvestEase, only offer a couple of basic account options. On the other hand, my top pick, Wealthsimple, has the most account options. All of which are very easy to open and start.

Halal, SRI (Social Responsible Investing, and Tax Loss Harvesting)

Some robo advisors also offer different types of investing. This includes socially responsible investing (SRI) which is an investment strategy that considers both your financial return, and social/environmental impact. There is also halal investing which follows Islamic principles. 

You may also be interested in a tax loss harvesting robo advisor. 

This is when the algorithm deliberately tracks any potential losses that might happen in a calendar year, and then use those losses to offset any capital gains and taxable income. Keep in mind, tax loss harvesting isn’t allowed for RRSPs, TFSAs, or RESPs.

Canadian Robo Advisor Promotions

Finally, it’s always worth your while to keep an eye on any promotions being offered by robo advisors. 

Similar to how credit cards offer occasional incentives and bonuses for people to sign up to their cards, robo advisors also have added perks to entice you to choose them. Typically, when it comes to robo advisor promotions, you’ll see cash bonuses or some of your investment (up to a certain amount) managed for free for a period of time (normally a year). 

A promotion on its own isn’t enough to validate choosing a specific robo advisor, as you can see from this list, there are several other factors to consider. But, if you can get some extra perks thrown in then you may as well take advantage!

Our Best 2022 Canadian Robo Advisor Promotion is featured below!

Robo Advisors vs Mutual Funds vs Human Financial Advisor

So, how do robo advisors stack up against mutual funds and human financial advisors?

Robo Advisor vs Mutual Funds

When considering robo advisors, which offer automated ETF trading versus mutual funds, which feature human beings picking stocks, there are a few things you will want to take note of.

First of all, fees. 

As discussed above robo advisor fees for MERs range from 0.1%-.7%. For mutual funds, you are generally looking at 2%+ for those same MERs. That’s a pretty significant difference. 

Beginning investors should be aware that minimal investments for mutual funds are significantly higher than those required for robo advisors. 

Of course, it’s not all about fees. Another thing to note is that robo advisors do the managing for you, whereas with mutual funds, they need to be managed by humans; either yourself or with a financial advisor. 

Robo Advisor vs Financial Advisor

The most obvious difference between using a robo advisor vs a financial planner is the human aspect. With a financial planner, having those face to face (or over the phone) conversations is essential, while robo advisors generally let you decide how often you want to chat.

Another key point which I have already discussed above is the cost. Robo advisors are significantly cheaper. 

Another noteworthy point is what both of these options actually do for you. Robo advisors are for investment management, but it’s not personalized. You won’t have someone to discuss goals with and figure out your best options based on where you are in your life. Any financial planning and strategies fall under the realm of a financial advisor. 

Robo Advisor Pros and Cons

One of the reasons why I’m such a fan of robo advisors is because they allow easy access to investing. Many Canadians are turned off from investing because they either don’t know how and think they need to be an expert, or they assume they need a big chunk of cash to get started.

To be honest, you can’t blame people for this mindset.

Investing isn’t taught in school and the media portrays investors as suit-wearing businessmen with fancy corner offices. For years, investing has been marketed as an activity for the wealthy. 

However, that is not the case. As Wealthsimple’s ads show, robo advisors make investing accessible and easy for everyone. Minimums are low. Investing is automated. It’s straightforward without any of the intimidating factors. 

Now, robo advisors are great, but they aren’t perfect. There are definitely a few downsides to robo advisors that, perhaps, will be rectified in the future but, for now, are something to be aware of. Here’s a breakdown of the main pros and cons of robo advisors.

Now, robo advisors are great, but they aren’t perfect. There are definitely a few downsides to robo advisors that, perhaps, will be rectified in the future but, for now, are something to be aware of. Here’s a breakdown of the main pros and cons of robo advisors.

Pros Cons
Super easy to get startedWhile robo advisors do answer 98%+ of the personal finance questions that Canadians have, they don’t offer full financial planning.
You can fully automate the wealth-building process.  Just “set it and forget it”Slightly more expensive than managing your own passive ETF portfolio through a Canadian discount brokerage.
Questions answered quickly and efficiently – no need to meet up in person.
Low Fees
Low Investing Minimums
Robo advisors are not ‘one size fits all’
Very easy to use 

Robo Advisors In Canada – FAQ

Canada Robo Advisors in 2022 Final Thoughts

While any of the top robo advisors are superior to the old mutual funds + financial advisor model in our books, there can only be one holder of the “Best Canadian Robo Advisor” title. 

For us, that’s Wealthsimple.

Their user experience, low fees, and commitment to passive investing just gives them a decisive edge over the rest of the pack.  

Ignore their Wealthsimple Trade and Wealthsimple Crypto offerings, and just stick to the initial Wealthsimple Invest platform!

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Curt
11 months ago

A friend of mine mention JustWealth to me, have you looked at that, what did you think?

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James
7 months ago
Reply to  Curt
Ian
5 months ago
Reply to  Curt

I joined JustWealth a few months ago and from my limited time with them I must say that their communication and response time was top-notch. I sought them out as they were recommended from various blogs to use for non-registered accounts, which is primarily what I was looking for.