Back when I first started writing about personal finance back in 2005, the Best ETFs in Canada ranking was a pretty short list!

There was no such thing as a Canadian all-in-one ETF (also called portfolios ETFs) like there are today.

While a big part of my portfolio is still in Canadian dividend stocks, Canadian ETFs that trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange (in Canadian dollars) make up the balance.

I’ve become more and more convinced that while dividend investing is still a great way to behaviourally control your worst investing impulses, low-fee index ETFs are really great options for a lot of people. This is especially true when it comes to getting international diversification. I would have tens of thousands of dollars more in my investment account today if I hadn’t had to pay relatively high MER fees on my international ETFs a couple decades ago.

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But while increased competition amongst Canadian ETF companies has meant great innovation and lower prices, it has also led to a lot of misinformation and poor products making their way to the marketplace. It used to be that the phrase exchange traded fund – or ETF – was code for “boring index fund that you’ll see talked about nerdy personal finance writers”.

These days however, every company tries to attach the ETF acronym (along with a catchy ticker symbol) to any product they can piece together. Many of them are bad investments and bear no resemblance at all to the original products in the early days of ETF investing.

As a consequence, it’s more important than ever for savvy investors to focus on what really matters when it comes to building their portfolio. In my quest to choose the Best Canadian ETFs in 2024, you’ll see that I place a lot of emphasis on low MERs, passive management investing principles, and overall simplicity. All of the ETFs recommended below also have substantial liquidity and the companies behind the products have long-term track records.

How I Choose Which ETFs to Include in My Portfolio

Due to the different goals and risk tolerances of various types of investors, what we decided to do was “compare apples to apples” and choose the top Canadian ETFs across multiple categories, focusing on three measurable areas.

1) MER fees

2) Breadth of diversification (how many stocks and bonds are included)

3) Tax efficiency (much more important to Canadians investing outside of their RRSP and TFSA)

My Top 10 Favourite BEST ETFs in Canada for 2024

  • iShares Core Equity ETF Portfolio (XEQT) – The easiest possible ETF solution. Full XEQT review.
  • Horizons S&P/TSX 60 ETF (HXT) – Best TSX ETF
  • BMO Aggregate Bond Index ETF (ZAG)- Best Canada bond ETF
  • Horizons S&P 500 Index ETF (HXS)- Best U.S stocks ETF for Canadians
  • Vanguard FTSE Global All Cap ex Canada Index ETF (VXC) – Best international ETF for Canadians
  • Vanguard All-Equity ETF Portfolio (VEQT) – Best all-in-one ETF. Full VEQT review.
  • FTSE Canadian High Dividend Yield Index ETF (VDY) – Best dividend ETF
  • Vanguard FTSE Canada Capped REIT Index ETF (VRE) – Best Canadian REIT ETF
  • iShares Canadian Growth ETF (XCG) – Best Canada growth ETF
  • Purpose High Interest Savings ETF (PSA) – Best Cash ETF

We have dozens more choices for ETFs to invest in for Canadians, in Canada and internationally. Just keep on scrolling and reading our what are our authors and editors think of the best investing opportunities and specifically ETFs. You can hop over to the list of Canada’s best ETFs [45 options to choose from].

How To Buy ETFs in Canada for Cheap

The basic idea is that if stocks or bonds are individual bananas, then you first need to pick a store that you like to go to, and then decide which bunch of bananas you want.

1. Pick a Canadian online broker and sign up. Read our Qtrade review to see why we think it’s the best, view our Canadian broker comparison here.

2. While you’re in the sign up stage, do yourself a favour and sign up for a TFSA, and RRSP, and a non-registered account.  You might never use one or two of them, but it’s easier to just do it all at once while you’re doing the initial setup.

3. Dedicate 30 minutes to understanding how “shopping at this store” works. Each broker will have a little tutorial that shows you how to type in your ETF ticker symbol, and then how many units of the ETF you want to buy. Our how to buy stocks guide also illustrates this.

4. Decide which “bunch of bananas” looks best, by reading our best ETFs in Canada guide above.

5. Once you have chosen your bunch of bananas, you pay for them by deciding how much money you want to invest at that time, and then dividing that number by the cost of the ETF.

For example, let’s say I have $1,000 to invest this month, and I want to use VEQT.  I would enter the initials VEQT into my stock purchase screen, and see that one unit of VEQT costs $37.07.  So I would divide $1,000 by $37.07 to get 26.97.

While I have close to enough money to purchase 27 units of VEQT, I can’t quite make it, so instead I enter “26” into my purchase screen, then click “market order” (you can also use limit order, it just adds a little complexity), and you will see a confirmation message pop up that says something like:

“Would you like to purchase 26 units of VEQT for $963.82?” .

 Then you hit “Buy” – and boom – you just bought a batch of 10,000+ stock bananas from all over the world!

Our Exclusive Best ETFs in Canada List (48 Options)

Scroll down below the the comparison chart for full descriptions for each ETF, but without further ado, here’s the MDJ editorial team’s Best in Canada ETF List.

Type

Ticker

ETF Name

Composition


MER

# of Holdings

TSX ETF

HXT

Horizons S&P/TSX 60 ETF

Canada Stocks

0.04%

60

TSX ETF

VCN

Vanguard FTSE Canada All Cap Index ETF

Canada Stocks

0.06%

180

TSX ETF

XIC
iShares Core S&P/TSX Capped Composite Index ETF

Canada Stocks

0.06%

219

TSX ETF

ZCN

BMO S&P TSX Capped Composite Index ETF

Canada Stocks

0.06%

222

Canada Bond ETF

ZAG
BMO Aggregate Bond Index ETF

Canada Government and Corporate Bonds

0.08%

1,330

Canada Bond ETF

VAB
Vanguard Canadian Aggregate Bond Index ETF

Canada Government and Corporate Bonds

0.09%

1,030

Canada Bond ETF

ZDB
BMO Discount Bond Index ETF

Tax Efficient Canada Bond Exposure

0.10%

195

Canada Bond ETF

VSB

Vanguard Canadian Short-term Bond Index ETF

Short Term Canada Bonds 

0.11%

420

American ETF (CAD) to Buy in Canada

HXS

Horizons S&P 500 Index ETF

USA Stocks

0.10%

500

American ETF (CAD) to Buy in Canada

XUU

iShares Core S&P U.S. Total Market Index ETF

USA Stocks

0.07%

3590

American ETF (CAD) to Buy in Canada

VFV

Vanguard S&P 500 Index ETF

USA Stocks

0.09%

509

American ETF (CAD) to Buy in Canada

ZSP

BMO S&P 500 Index ETF (CAD)

USA Stocks

0.09%

507

International ETFs to Buy in Canada

VXC

Vanguard FTSE Global All Cap ex Canada Index ETF

The World’s Stocks - Minus Canada

0.26%

10,270

International ETFs to Buy in Canada

XAW

iShares Core MSCI All Country World ex Canada Index ETF

The World’s Stocks - Minus Canada

0.22%

8,888

International ETFs to Buy in Canada

VEE

Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets All Cap Index ETF

Emerging Markets

0.24%

5,048

International ETFs to Buy in Canada

VIU

Vanguard FTSE Developed All Cap ex North America Index ETF

Developed Markets - Minus Canada and USA

0.22%

3,739

All in One ETF

XEQT

iShares Core Equity ETF Portfolio

All Global Stocks

0.20%

4 ETFs (thousands of underlying stocks)

All in One ETF

VEQT

Vanguard All-Equity ETF Portfolio

All Global Stocks

0.25%

7 ETFs (thousands of underlying stocks)

All in One ETF

ZGRO

BMO Growth ETF

Global Stocks and Bonds (80% stocks, 20% bonds)

0.20%

7 ETFs (thousands of underlying stocks)

All in One ETF

XGRO

iShares Core Growth ETF Portfolio

Global Stocks and Bonds (80% stocks, 20% bonds)

0.20%

8 ETFs (thousands of underlying stocks and bonds)

All in One ETF

VGRO

Vanguard Growth ETF Portfolio

Global Stocks and Bonds (80% stocks, 20% bonds)

0.25%

7 ETFs (thousands of underlying stocks and bonds)

All in One ETF

VBAL

Vanguard Balanced ETF Portfolio

Global Stocks and Bonds (60% stocks, 40% bonds)

0.25%

7 ETFs (thousands of underlying stocks and bonds)

All in One ETF

XBAL

iShares Core Income Balanced ETF Portfolio

Global Stocks and Bonds (60% stocks, 40% bonds)

0.20%

8 ETFs (thousands of underlying stocks and bonds)

All in One ETF

ZBAL

BMO Balanced ETF

Global Stocks and Bonds (60% stocks, 40% bonds)

0.20%

7 ETFs (thousands of underlying stocks and bonds)

All in One ETF

VCNS

Vanguard Conservative ETF Portfolio

Global Stocks and Bonds (40% stocks, 60% bonds)

0.20%

7 ETFs (thousands of underlying stocks and bonds)

All in One ETF

XCNS

iShares Core Conservative Balanced ETF Portfolio

Global Stocks and Bonds (40% stocks, 60% bonds)

0.20%

8 ETFs (thousands of underlying stocks and bonds)

All in One ETF

ZCON

BMO Conservative ETF

Global Stocks and Bonds (40% stocks, 60% bonds)

0.20%

7 ETFs (thousands of underlying stocks and bonds)

All in One ETF

VCIP

Vanguard Conservative Income ETF Portfolio

Global Stocks and Bonds (20% stocks, 80% bonds)

0.25%

7 ETFs (thousands of underlying stocks and bonds)

All in One ETF

XINC

iShares Core Income Balanced ETF Portfolio

Global Stocks and Bonds (20% stocks, 80% bonds)

0.20%

8 ETFs (thousands of underlying stocks and bonds)

Canada Growth Stock ETF

XCG

iShares Canadian Growth ETF

Canada High Growth Stocks

0.55%

47

Canada Dividend ETF

CDZ

S&P/TSX Canadian Dividend Aristocrats Index Fund

Canadian Dividend Stocks

0.66%

86

Canada Dividend ETF

XDV

iShares Canadian Select Dividend Index ETF

Canadian Dividend Stocks

0.55%

29

Canada Dividend ETF

VDY

FTSE Canadian High Dividend Yield Index ETF

Canadian Dividend Stocks

0.22%

60

Canada Dividend ETF

XEI

IShares Core S&P/TSX Composite High Dividend Index ETF

Canadian Dividend Stocks

0.22%

60

Canada Dividend ETF

ZDV

BMO Canadian Dividend ETF

Canadian Dividend Stocks

0.38%

51

Canada Dividend ETF

XDIV

iShares Core MSCI Canadian Quality Dividend Index ETF

Canadian Dividend Stocks

0.11%

21

Canada REIT ETFs

VRE

Vanguard FTSE Canada Capped REIT Index ETF

Canada REIT

0.38%

15

Canada REIT ETFs

ZRE

BMO Equal Weight REITs Index ETF

Canada REIT

0.61%

22

Canada REIT ETFs

XRE

IShares S&P TSX Capped REIT INDEX ETF

Canada REIT

0.61%

19

Canada REIT ETFs

RIT

CI First Asset Canadian REIT ETF

Canada REIT

0.97%

36

Specialty Canadian ETF

VRIF

Vanguard Retirement Income Fund

Worldwide Income ETF

0.32%

13,337 stocks, 18,330 Bonds

Specialty Canadian ETF

BTCC.B

Purpose Bitcoin ETF

Bitcoin ETF

1.00%

N/A

Specialty Canadian ETF

QQC-F

Nasdaq 100 ETF

100 Largest Tech Companies in USA

0.25%

100

Specialty Canadian ETF

AVDV

Avantis International Small Cap Value ETF

Small Cap Value from Non-USA Countries

0.36%

1,181

Specialty Canadian ETF

ZESG

BMO Balanced ESG ETF

Socially Responsible Investing

0.20%

6 ETFs (thousands of underlying stocks and bonds)

Cash ETF

PSA

Purpose High Interest Savings ETF

Money Market ETF

0.15%

5

Cash ETF

HSAV

Horizons Cash Maximizer ETF

Money Market ETF

0.20%

3, but 99.41% in National Bank

Cash ETF

CASH

Horizons High Interest Savings ETF

Money Market ETF

0.11%

4

This is the short list of best Canadian ETFs taken from the 37 ETF providers in Canada, including BMO Asset Management, Vanguard Investments Canada Inc., BlackRock Canada, and Horizons ETFs Management (Canada) Inc.

If you want the easiest possible way to diversify your money, then buying an all-in-one ETF is your best bet. If you open a Qtrade discount brokerage account, you can buy and sell the VEQT ETF for free. It’s the best deal going in Canada. Robb Engen over at Boomer and Echo has written extensively about how he uses VEQT for the entirety of his investment portfolio.

If you want the lowest cost indexed portfolio – along with the ability to do your own portfolio math and overweight Canadian stocks – go with the combination of HXT, VXC, and ZAG.

If the goal for your portfolio is to generate income (as opposed to maximizing growth opportunities while cutting costs) then looking at VRIF, VRE, and VDY are great places to start.

See below for a more detailed explanation on our best in class.

Check out our article on how to buy stocks in Canada and our Canadian online brokers comparison for a detailed look on how to buy ETFs in Canada.  

Best Canadian Stock Market ETF

It is amazing how much easier and cheaper it is to invest in a Canadian stock market ETF today than it was when I started investing roughly 15 years ago.

Competition has worked its magic and fees have come down substantially across the asset class. You can’t go wrong with any of our top 4 options: HXT, VCN, XIC, or ZCN.

Best In Class: Horizons Horizons S&P/TSX 60 ETF (HXT)

  • Lowest Fee (after rebate) of 0.04%
  • Top 60 Stocks in Canada
  • Swap-based ETF means low tracking error
  • Perfect for tax-efficient investing

I personally love HXT not only for its slight cost advantage, but also for its tax advantages in non-registered accounts.  If you’re investing in a non-registered account or a corporate account, turning those Canadian dividends into tax-deferred capital gains can make a big difference.

Honourable Mentions:

  1. Vanguard FTSE Canada All Cap Index ETF (VCN)
  2. iShares Core S&P/TSX Capped Composite Index ETF (XIC)
  3. BMO S&P TSX Capped Composite Index ETF (ZCN)
  • All have identical low MERs of 0.06%
  • All give access to some smaller-cap Canadian stocks
  • Excellent value – especially in an RRSP or TFSA

Best Canada Bond ETFs

Sure, there isn’t a lot of love out there for bonds these days. That said, they can still perform a valuable stabilizing function for your portfolio. When it comes to Bond ETFs, we’re all about getting low fee access to super-stable government and blue-chip corporate bonds.

Best In Class: BMO Aggregate Bond Index ETF (ZAG)

  • Ultra Low MER 0.08%
  • Access to broadest diversification of bonds
  • Safe and stable – perfect for rebalancing

Honourable Mentions:

  1. Vanguard Canadian Aggregate Bond Index ETF (VAB)
  2. BMO Discount Bond Index ETF (ZDB)
  3. Vanguard Canadian Short-term Bond Index ETF (VSB)
  • VAB almost identical to ZAG
  • ZDB has some interesting tax efficiency features for non-registered accounts
  • VSB uses only short-term bonds to protect against rising inflation rates

Best USA Stocks ETF for Canadians

If this is the type of ETF you are most interested in, i suggest you also read our more detailed breakdown and comparison in this best Canadian dollar ETFs for U.S equity article.

Best in Class: Horizons S&P 500 Index ETF (HXS)

  • Slightly higher MER than competitors
  • Valuable tax-efficient structure can save investors $$$ on dividend taxation
  • Almost zero tracking error due to swap-based structure

Honourable Mentions:

  1. iShares Core S&P U.S. Total Market Index ETF (XUU)
  2. Vanguard S&P 500 Index ETF (VFV)
  3. BMO S&P 500 Index ETF (ZSP)
  • XUU has the lowest MER fee at 0.07% 
  • XUU has the broadest exposure to smaller American stocks
  • VFV and ZSP are nearly identical in terms of holdings and fees

Best International ETFs for Canadians

Best In Class: Vanguard FTSE Global All Cap ex Canada Index ETF (VXC)

  • Super easy access to the entire world of stocks outside of Canada
  • Widest possible exposure (wider than XAW)
  • Perfect for the “Two ETF Portfolio”

Honourable Mentions:

  1. iShares Core MSCI All Country World ex Canada Index ETF (XAW)
  2. Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets All Cap Index ETF (VEE)
  3. Vanguard FTSE Developed All Cap ex North America Index ETF (VIU)
  • XAW is a close second to VXC offering a slightly lower MER for less overall diversification
  • VEE is perfect for targeted investors who want instant access to emerging markets
  • VIU is perfect for targeted investors who want instant access to developed markets outside of the USA and Canada

Best Canadian All-in-One Portfolio ETFs

We’ve got a detailed breakdown on Canadian all-in-one ETFs that we have updated every couple of years since the very first portfolio ETF by Vanguard came out a few years ago.

Long story short, these instant diversifiers have been a game changer for the entire industry.  With shrinking fees and the value of simplicity on their side, it is an excellent solution for the “set it and forget it” investor.

Best Canadian Dividend ETFs

Choosing the Best Dividend ETF in Canada has been our jam at MDJ since they first came to Canada.  While many readers now prefer to pick their own specific Canadian Dividend Stocks, there is no denying the straightforward, simple value of instantly diversifying your Canadian dividend income with one ETF purchase.

As more of the original readers who have stuck with MDJ for over a decade entered into retirement (at a wide variety of ages) the focus on generating income as opposed to risk-embracing growth, has pulled to the forefront. Fortunately, the Canadian market offers some of the most consistent dividend payers around!

If you are looking at other ways to optimize your retirement income and come up with a solid retirement plan, then I recommend checking out Kyle’s online course titled ‘Worry Free Retire’. In it, Kyle covers all the key elements that make a successful retirement plan, and the common mistakes most Canadians make.

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*Data Source: BMO Retirement Survey

Best Canadian REIT ETFs

Similar to Canadian Dividend ETFs, Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) hold a special place in the income-investors heart. While the asset class has had a bit of a rough go of it lately, in an income-starved world they offer a simple way to invest in real estate.  (Something many Canadians are after in their portfolios.)

You can also read my guide to investing in Canadian REITs and our comparison between holding a Canadian REIT ETFs and an individual REIT.

Best In Class: Vanguard FTSE Canada Capped REIT Index ETF (VRE)

  • By far the lowest MER 0.38%
  • Solid exposure to a wide variety of real estate sectors
  • Similarly, excellent geographical diversity

Honourable Mentions:

  1. BMO Equal Weight REITs Index ETF (ZRE)
  2. IShares S&P TSX Capped REIT INDEX ETF (XRE)
  • Slightly more holdings than VRE
  • Significantly higher cost – important for an income-specific product

Best Canada Growth ETF: iShares Canadian Growth ETF (XCG)

While many MDJ investors gravitate toward mature companies with a steady record of dividend increases, there are always investors out there with an appetite for risk, and who want growth at all potential costs.  For them. XCG rules the roost.

  • Relatively high MER at 0.55% that I hope to see decrease with more competition
  • Quick access to Canada’s fastest growing tech companies
  • Has performed quite well over the last couple of years

Best Specialty Canadian ETFs

This was our catch-all category for the best Canadian ETFs that didn’t really fit neatly into any category.  Each of these does something completely different:

Best Retirement Income ETF: Vanguard Retirement Income Fund (VRIF)

  • Invested in a wide variety of investment grade bonds from around the world, as well as a sprinkling of stock indexes
  • Great option for a retiree who doesn’t want the risk of a pure-stock portfolio
  • Stated goal is a consistent 4% return each year (after fees)
  • MER of 0.32%

Best Bitcoin ETF: Purpose Bitcoin ETF (BTCC.B) 

  • Canada’s most popular and liquid Bitcoin ETF
  • Easy exposure
  • Bitcoin isn’t really my thing personally… but if you want an easy way to get in on it…
  • MER of 1.00% is indicative of the fees in this space

Best Technology ETF: Invesco Nasdaq 100 ETF (QQC-F)

  • If you think the tech sector is going to experience explosive growth going forward, the easiest way to invest using Canadian Dollars is QQQ
  • Tracks the Nasdaq-100 index (100 biggest tech companies in the USA)
  • A very reasonable MER of 0.25%

Best Value ETF: Avantis International Small Cap Value ETF (AVDV)

  • Full credit to Ben Felix for this recommendation and for his push to explain factor investing to Canadians
  • Main idea here is that over the long-term small-cap value stocks tend to outperform the larger market-cap indexes (such as the S&P 500 or the TSX 60) 
  • 0.36% MER

Best ESG ETF: BMO Balanced ESG ETF (ZESG)

  • Created for investors looking to invest alongside their socially responsible values
  • 60% Equity, 40% Fixed Income
  • 50% Canada, 35% USA, 15% Other
  • A  competitive 0.20% MER

Best Canadian Cash ETFs

Best in Class: Purpose High Interest Savings ETF (PSA)

  • Current best overall rate
  • All Cash ETFs are quite similar
  • Cash ETF returns will go up and down depending on interest rates

Honourable Mentions:

  1. Horizons Cash Maximizer ETF (HSAV)
  2. Horizons High Interest Savings ETF (CASH)

Best Canadian ETFs for RRSP and TFSA

For the vast majority of Canadians with investments in the stock market, their entire portfolio consists of their RRSP and TFSA.

Hey, if you can consistently max out those registered accounts each year, you’re doing pretty darn well!

When it comes to choosing the exact best ETFs for your RRSP and TFSA it boils down to the following questions:

1) How much do you value simplicity?

2) Are you comfortable doing a little math a few times a year in order to rebalance your portfolio and cut MER fees to the absolute bone?

3) Do you want a specific tilt toward Canadian stocks, income-producing investments, or another niche?

Depending on your answers to these questions, the best ETF in Canada will vary from person to person.

When making a recommendation to a broad audience I absolutely love VEQT for young investors, and then the rest of the all-in-one ETF family.  There is just too much value to keeping it simple, and getting people to take action by logging into their online broker account one a month and buying the same ETF over and over again.

If we want to re-balance our portfolios in the old-school way, we can shave a few MER points off by using HXT, ZAG, and XUU for our Canadian equity, Canadian bond, and American equity portions respectively.

Finally, if you’re just looking for a very safe and stable pure income play, I really think that VRIF is worth a close look.

Which Canadian ETF has had the best returns in 2023?

The ETFs with the best returns in 2023 generally centred around Bitcoin ETFs (which were coming off an atrociously bad 2022). The truth is that you shouldn’t be looking at 2023 ETF performance if you want to try and predict what ETFs will have the best returns in 2024.

Here’s a quick look at top performing ETFs in 2023.

  • GI Galaxy ETF USD (BTCX)
  • Purpose Bitcoin ETF (BTCC)
  • GI Galaxy Ethereum ETF USD (ETHX)
  • Tesla Yield Shares ETF (YTSL)
  • Horizons Global Semiconductor ETF (CHPS)

And just for kicks, here’s the best ETF returns for 2022.

  • Ninepoint Energy Fund (NNRG) 
  • Ishares S&P 500 TSX Capped Energy Index ETF (XEG)
  • BMO S&P TSX Eql Weight Oil Gas Index ETF (ZEO)
  • Ishares Global Agri Index ETF (COW)
  • Horizons US Dollar Currency ETF (DLR)

If you put a large part of your portfolio into these companies right now at all-time highs, the chances that they will continue to outperform going forward aren’t great. Instead, stick to diversifying your portfolio as we detailed above.

The fact that none of last year’s best performers aren’t on this year’s list is not an anomaly – it’s very common.

Top Canadian ETFs: FAQ

ETFs vs Mutual Funds – Why MER Can Make a Huge Difference

Diving into the ETFs vs mutual funds debate in Canada, the real game-changer comes down to the fees you’re forking over each year.

Understanding the Management Expense Ratio (MER) is crucial. This fee, a percentage of your total assets, is deducted annually, irrespective of your investment’s performance. It’s a silent killer of the growth of your investments over time. A slight difference in MER could mean the difference of hundreds of thousands of dollars over an investor’s lifetime. That’s no pocket change!

When we line up the average equity mutual fund vs Canadian ETFs, the disparity in annual fees is staggering—mutual funds can charge anywhere from 10 to 40 times more. This fact alone has steered a new generation of investors towards ETFs, moving away from the mutual funds their predecessors have chosen. (And which unfortunately still have the majority of assets in Canada.)

While the massive difference in fees should get most of the attention, it’s not the only reason we should choose the simple options in the ETFs vs mutual funds conversation. Here’s a few more advantages that ETFs have:

Ease of Trading: Buying and selling ETFs couldn’t be simpler with an online brokerage account. Mutual funds? They often require a call to customer service or a sit-down with an advisor.

Tax Efficiency: Generally speaking, ETFs are almost always more tax-efficient compared to their mutual fund counterparts.

Control Over Investments: ETFs offer you the flexibility to buy, sell, and rebalance as you see fit, granting a level of personal control mutual funds can’t match.

In the landscape of Canadian investing, these distinctions between ETFs and mutual funds are not just footnotes—they’re pivotal factors steering informed investment decisions.

Which Canadian ETF Should You Buy?

Our investment portfolios should be as unique as our investment wants and needs.

Given that each of us will prize stability and risk vs reward a little bit differently, it’s impossible to say which Canadian ETF is best for your particular situation without knowing you and your full financial plan.

It’s also important to always keep in mind that no matter what anyone tells you, it’s impossible to know ahead of time which ETF will produce the best returns over a given short period such as a month – or even a year.

Instead, what you need to focus on is defining your investment goals, determining your risk tolerance, and then selecting the right ETFs for that personal investing profile. 

The Best Canadian ETFs balance out the need for easy diversification, alongside rock-bottom costs, to offer value to Canadians that is unparalleled compared to a decade ago.

The key takeaway from our Ultimate Guide to the Best ETFs in Canada for 2024 is that there are now so many great options out there in the main categories, that it’s important not to get overwhelmed.  Competition has ensured that any of the ETFs that appear on this list offer fantastic value at a great price.

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FT is the founder and editor of Million Dollar Journey (est. 2006). Through various financial strategies outlined on this site, he grew his net worth from $200,000 in 2006 to $1,000,000 by 2014. You can read more about him here.
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George
9 months ago

Good day, I am trying to understand when to buy a etf. For example when the market is so high aren’t the etf’s going to be high as well and what goes up must come down in time. How does one determine what is a good price on a etf? also when to sell the etf at a good price if people panic won’t the sell off reduce the etf price and one can lose all their earnings really.

don cooper
9 months ago

I didn’t see zqq mentioned. Did I miss it? If it wasn’t mentioned why not? Don

Paul
1 year ago

A correction in your article above. VEQT is not on Qtrades free etf purchase list. XEQT is but not VEQT. In fact, there are very few Canadian Vanguard etf’s on the list.

love your blog – Paul

Derek
2 months ago
Reply to  Paul

Error still there a year later. The only Vanguard Canadian ETF on the 100+ list is VBG, an ex-US aggregate bond fund. I find the list of 100+ ETF really limiting in Qtrade, I use the Ishares all-in-one funds, XEQT, XBAL, XINC for my daughters RESP, and have XEQT and CGR in a small RRSP, but not having access to most of the 48 ETFs listed above doesn’t make me want to leave CI Direct Trading (my bigger RRSP and TFSA) for Qtrade.

Jake
1 year ago

Do you still like HXT best for Canadian equity after they hiked their MER to 0.08% this year?

Or would VCN/XIC be preferred?

MonkeyInvestor
2 years ago

A question regarding HXS vs. other options, such as ZSP: the effective MER + swap fee of 0.3% for HXS is distinctly higher than the MER for ZSP or VFV. So, in a registered account, wouldn’t it make more sense to pick ZSP or VFV over HXS? I think this not considered or not clarified enough.

Editor
Kyle Prevost
2 years ago
Reply to  MonkeyInvestor

You have to balance that higher MER vs the money saved on dividend witholding taxes and dividend income taxes MI.

EnjineerGuy
2 years ago

Thanks FT!

Was wondering the main reasons why HXS versus VFV if inside an RRSP? What about outside an RRSP? Tax efficiencies was mentioned, but not understood by me as the reader, help?

Also for the best international ETF to own as a Canadian VXC is mentioned which I do own, but I do also own VFV making me over exposed to the US Equities market.

Was wonder if there was a product like VXC where we get exposure to emerging markets like China and India but is Ex North America. – I see VIU mentioned, but I don’t see any Chinese or Indian holdings in that one?

Here’s my current porfolio and weighting in case you have any advice on it:

XIC.TO – 30%
VFV.TO – 30%
VXC.TO – 30%
VSB.TO – 10%

Thanks for your help!

-Jared

Last edited 2 years ago by EnjineerGuy