The best GIC rates in Canada might be at a peak for the foreseeable future. With the Bank of Canada talking about possibly lowering rates later 2024, now might be the time to lock in a rate above 5%. The acronym GIC stands for Guaranteed Investment Certificates, and they are the Canadian equivalent to the American Certificates of Deposit (CDs).  

GICs are perfect for saving for short-term goals.  Below you can see our constantly updated table of the top Canadian GIC rates. We compare 1-yr, 3-yr, and 5-yr GICs, but other lengths of GIC terms are also available. GICs are considered super safe due to the stability of Canada’s banks, as well the insurance automatically provided by the Canadian Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC).

We should note that we have consistently recommended EQ Bank over the years not only because of their elite GIC rates, but also because of their $0 fee accounts, excellent EQ Bank Card, best-in-Canada high interest savings account, and their award-winning online platform. See our EQ Bank Review for more details.

Best Canadian GIC Rates Compared

March 2024’s top Canadian GIC rates are listed below for 1-year, 3-year, and 5-year terms. I also provided a more detailed comparison of all the major GIC options below the quick compare charts.

Best 1-Year GIC Rates in Canada

EQ Bank – 5.35%

MDJ Rating: 4.9/5

Full Review: EQ Bank Review

Motive Financial – 5.40%

MDJ Rating: 3.8/5

Full Review: Motive Financial Review

Tangerine Bank – 5.15%

MDJ Rating: 4/5

Full Review: Tangerine Bank Review

Best 3-Year GIC Rates Compared

EQ Bank – 4.80%

MDJ Rating: 4.9/5

Full Review: EQ Bank Review

Motive Financial – 4.65%

MDJ Rating: 3.8/5

Full Review: Motive Financial Review

Tangerine Bank – 4.00%

MDJ Rating: 4/5

Full Review: Tangerine Bank Review

Best 5-Year GIC Rates

EQ Bank – 4.45%

MDJ Rating: 4.9/5

Full Review: EQ Bank Review

Motive Financial – 4.35%

MDJ Rating: 3.8/5

Full Review: Motive Financial Review

What is a GIC?

The term GIC is short for Guaranteed Investment Certificate.  

As an investment, it belongs in the same fixed-income family as bonds.

GICs are very safe investments as they are basically short-term loans to banks, and are insured in Canada by the Canadian Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC) if you use a major Canadian Bank such as EQ Bank. Even if one of Canada’s banks went bankrupt (incredibly unlikely) the CDIC would step in and pay you your principal back (up to $100,000 per account).

When looking at fixed income investments, the idea is that you are loaning an entity money, and in return, that entity is going to give you that money (called “the principle”) back, plus interest payments periodically. 

So if you buy a government bond, you’re essentially loaning money to the government.  When you buy a corporate bond (more risky) you’re loaning money to that company.

And when you buy a GIC, you are making an agreement with a bank to pay you your money back a number of years from now, plus give you a specific interest.

So if you were to invest in a 5-year GIC from EQ Bank right now for $100, you would earn $5 each year, and then in five years you’d get that money, as well as your initial $100 back as well.

Outlook for 2024 Canadian GIC Rates

Forecasting the trajectory of GIC rates for the second half of 2024 isn’t as straightforward as some might suggest. It wasn’t long ago that market pundits were suggesting GIC rates would soon be in freefall.  Instead, we see US inflation data still coming in pretty strong, and EQ Bank actually rolls out a slight increase in their GIC rates for March 2024!

The latest inflation updates hint that core inflation isn’t cooling off as expected. It casts doubt on the Bank of Canada’s ability to slash interest rates as rapidly as some are betting. My take? Expect less aggressive rate cuts than the market anticipates, which spells good news for GIC rates in Canada – at least for the time being. 

Great news for savers – for those juggling hefty mortgages, not so much.

Currently, the 1-year GICs, especially within RRSPs and TFSAs, are looking particularly attractive. And locking in a rate of 4.45% for 5 years? That’s a move unlikely to cause you any sleepless nights. The odds of the Bank of Canada hiking its key interest rate again seem slim, making today’s GIC purchase a strategic play for those looking to maximize their savings.

Types of GICs in Canada

You can put GICs in pretty much any bank account or investment account in Canada (including RRSPs, TFSAs, RESPs, or basic bank accounts).  The main types of GICs in Canada include:

The Classic Non-Redeemable GIC: The vast majority of GICs that Canadians invest in are non-redeemable GICs.  All that phrase means is you can’t cash the FIC out early and redeem your cash.  You are locked in to getting your specific interest rate payment annually, and then your money back at the end of that period.

This type of GIC is also commonly referred to as a “fixed GIC”.

A Cashable Redeemable GIC: The much less common cashable GIC is kind of the exact opposite of the non-redeemable GIC.  It allows folks the ability to withdraw the initial money they put in (the principle) before the term is up.  In order to get this neat little feature though, you are going to get paid a much lower interest rate than you would with the Classic GIC option.  

Honestly, rather than go through the trouble of a cashable GIC, I’d just toss my money in one of our best high-interest savings accounts.

Laddered GIC: The phrase “laddered GIC” is just something that bankers like to say to impress people.  All it really means is that a person can set up a series of non-redeemable GICs so that they will receive money each year.

For example, If I have $100,000, I might put $20,000 each in a 1-year GIC, 2-year GIC, 3-year, GIC, 4-year GIC, and 5-year GIC.  In this way, I know that I will have $20,000 (plus interest) coming to me each year.

Market Linked GIC: This type of GIC is a niche produce that is linked to the performance of an underlying asset.  It’s kind of like using the GIC structure to make a bet on something else (usually the stock market).  Most people can safely ignore these types of GICs.

Variable Rate GICs: Again, another niche type of GIC that most people can probably avoid.  This GIC’s return will go up and down with interest.  It’s like the reverse of a variable rate mortgage.

Best GIC Rates For Registered RRSP and TFSAs vs. Non Registered GICs

The GIC is a very flexible investment product.  You can invest in a GIC outside of any type of special registered account, and you can also place it within an RRSP, TFSA, RESP or other registered accounts.

Our preferred GIC provider, EQ Bank, even goes so far as to incentivize you to use their GIC inside your RRSP and TFSA by offering special GIC rates on those products:

Term

Registered (TFSA & RRSP) GIC Rate

Non-Registered GIC Rate

3 Months

4.00%

3.75%

6 Months

4.75%

4.50%

9 Months

5.25%

5.25%

1 Year

5.35%

5.35%

15 Months

5.20%

5.20%

2 Years

5.00%

5.00%

27 Months

4.95%

4.95%

3 Years

4.80%

4.80%

4 Years

4.55%

4.55%

5 Years

4.45%

4.45%

6 Years

3.80%

3.80%

7 Years

3.80%

3.80%

10 Years

3.80%

3.80%

Obviously the big bonus to putting GICs into a registered account (versus a GIC in a non-registered account) is that the interest gained on the investment in a TFSA or RRSP will not be taxed. 

This is especially important for GIC income because the interest income that they produce is taxed at 100% of your normal tax rate (it’s as if you earned the money a job) whereas dividends and capital gains are taxed at much lower rates.

Are GICs Insured and Safe Investments?

GICs are safe investments in two different ways.

1) GICs are relatively safe in terms of investment risk. 

As a fixed income investment, GICs are considered substantially safer than stocks. If a company were to go bankrupt (again, we’re talking super safe Canadian banks here) GIC holders would be some of the first ones paid out. 

People who owned shares of a bank on the other hand, would be the last ones to get paid anything. (This is why equities like shares generally have higher long-term returns than fixed income investments.)

2) GICs are safe due to CDIC insurance.

The Canadian Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC) is an entity that the Canadian government set up to protect investors and to give people confidence when it comes to investing money in Canada. Canadian banks (notably not credit unions such as Oaken or Hubert) have their GICs fully insured by this Canadian government company – up to $100,000 per account.

So if you have $100,000 in GICs in your RRSP, $100,000 in GICs in your TFSA, and $100,000 in GICs in basic non-registered bank account – then you are fully insured on $300,000. If you do the same thing again at a second bank, you have $600,000 covered.  

If your partner uses the same strategy – you now have over a million in fully insured GICs – and frankly you probably have too much money in fixed income investments!

So even if a bank were to go completely bankrupt and not be able to pay you your money, this branch of the Canadian government would step in to cover your losses – up to $100,000 per account.

Canadian Credit Unions have a similar government-ran insurance, but they are governed by provinces – not the federal government. That means that GICs from credit unions are considered almost as safe as those from Canadian Banks (such as EQ Bank and Tangerine) – but since the provincial deposit guarantee corporations aren’t as big as the CDIC (which is ran by a whole country instead of a province).

How to Open a GIC Account and Buy a GIC

There are a wide variety of ways to open a GIC account in Canada. You can buy a GIC within any registered or non-registered account, so basically anywhere that allows you to do that will allow you to buy a GIC.

As you can tell from our Canadian GIC Comparison chart at the top of this article, we’re fans of online banks and credit unions. They always have the best GIC rates in Canada because they have no bricks-and-mortar costs to subsidize with fees on their products.  

That said, you can buy a GIC using any of Canada’s chartered banks – from the biggest company in Canada (RBC) to relatively small banks and trust companies.  As mentioned above, you can use credit unions or caisses populaires to buy GICs – but remember they are covered by provincial governance, not by the CDIC.

Canada’s online discount brokerages will also allow you to purchase GICs, but the variety you’ll have to choose from depends on which online broker you use.

For the most part it’s quite easy to open an account and buy a GIC at any of these institutions since it’s such a well known product.

GICs vs Bonds and Other Fixed Income

Of course GICs aren’t alone when it comes to investment types that fit under the category of “fixed income”.  You can check out our in-depth article on bond ETFs vs GICs vs high interest savings accounts for a close comparison of fixed income products.

Generally speaking bonds, GICs, and high interest savings accounts have different levels of liquidity, but they all fit under the same overall big picture.  They are very safe investments with correspondingly low levels of anticipated returns compared to equities.

For 2024 I think the mid-term GICs specifically have raced out the best value when compared to the current rates offered on federal and provincial bonds, as well as high interest savings accounts.  

Canadian GICs FAQ

Compare Other Top Canadian GIC Rates

The chart below compares the top GIC rates from to those Canadian banks that didn’t make it into our Best GIC Rate section above.

Bank Name

1-Year GIC

2-Year GIC

3-Year GIC

4-Year GIC

5-Year GIC

Get Rates

EQ Bank


5.35%

5.00%

4.80%

4.55%

4.45%

Tangerine Bank

5.15%

4.10%

4.00%

3.80%

3.75%

Motive Financial

5.40%

5.10%

4.65%

4.50%

4.35%

Simplii Financial

4.90%

4.15%

4.00%

4.00%

4.00%

People's Trust

5.40%

4.75%

4.50%

4.65%

4.50%

Oaken Financial

5.15%

5.00%

4.55%

4.40%

4.35%

motusbank

4.50%

4.20%

3.90%

3.85%

3.75%

Hubert Financial

5.50%

5.50%

5.05%

4.95%

4.95%

Meridian Credit Union

5.00%

4.60%

4.25%

4.25%

4.15%

ICICI Bank

1.75%

2.00%

2.25%

2.50%

2.75%

Achieva Financial

5.40%

5.25%

5.10%

4.90%

4.80%

Alterna Bank

4.95%

4.65%

4.40%

4.30%

4.20%

Canadian Tire Bank

4.90%

4.50%

4.43%

4.34%

4.20%

Canadian Western Bank

4.65%

4.25%

4.10%

4.00%

3.80%

Laurentian Bank of Canada

5.00%

4.80%

4.65%

4.50%

4.40%

Manulife Bank

4.50%

4.45%

4.43%

4.34%

4.23%

HSBC Canada

4.10%

4.05%

3.85%

3.85%

3.85%

BMO

4.75%

4.60%

4.25%

4.25%

4.25%

CIBC

5.00%

3.75%

3.75%

3.75%

3.75%

RBC

Up to 4.90%

Up to 4.60%

4.00%

4.00%

Up to 4.25%

Scotiabank

4.75%

4.10%

Up to 4.48%

4.00%

3.95%

TD Bank

5.00%

4.60%

4.25%

4.25%

4.15%

As you can see, while Canadian GIC rates have gone up substantially at every bank in Canada this year, the largest institutions generally have some of the lowest GIC rates available. Out of the Big 6 Banks it appears that BMO, TD, ScotiaBank National Bank, RBC, and CIBC all have 5.00% GICs available for one or two years.

Are Canadian GICs Worth It?

Absolutely – scouting for the prime Canadian GIC rate right now is juice well worth the squeeze.

Rewind to the past 15 years, and you’d find Canadian savers navigating through a landscape where GIC rates seldom breached the 3% mark. During this era, borrowers frequently found themselves on the favorable (long?) end of the stick, thanks to the prolonged spell of low interest rates.

However, the tide has turned. With a rock-solid, nearly risk-free Canadian GIC rate hovering around 5.4% – courtesy of CDIC coverage, which in my book, elevates these GICs to virtually risk-free territory up to $100,000 per account – you’ve got a golden ticket to saving for the future with unparalleled simplicity. As hinted earlier, this window for snagging a GIC at a juicy 5.35% yield might just be narrowing due to inflation and interest rates turning downwards.

Whether it’s stashing away funds for a new set of wheels, laying the groundwork for a home down payment, or saving up for your next adventure, GICs are a boringly-solid way to get to where you want to be. Make your savings pull double duty by hunting down the best GIC rates Canada has available today!

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Kyle Prevost

Kyle Prevost is Canada's Top Personal Finance Teacher and an author/speaker/advisor when he is not in his classroom. His writing has been featured across Canada’s most-read publications. When he isn’t nerding out about P/E ratios or MERs, you can find Kyle on a basketball court or in a boxing ring trying to recapture something he isn’t sure that he had in the first place.
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Sooke
2 months ago

At EQ Bank, their savings account pays 4% if you set up $500/month or more in qualifying payroll direct deposits. It hardly seems worthwhile to lock in for a tiny bit more.

Darren
7 months ago

Another great option is a 1.5 yr which seem to have great rates too.