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Top 22 Canadian Dividend Growth Stocks for 2019

Canadian dividend growth stocks

By request, I have updated/re-written this article that was originally published in 2013.  In this article, I have included all Canadian dividend stocks that have a 15+ year track record of increasing their dividends, which brings it up to 22 in total (18 in 2017).  This list will give you a good idea on some of the top dividend growth stocks in Canada.

If you’ve been following Million Dollar Journey for a while, you’ll know that I’m a fan of dividend growth investing because it provides a dependable stream of increasing tax-efficient income. For those of you interested in this strategy as well, you can see an example through my leveraged dividend portfolio.  In fact, growing a passive dividend income stream is my strategy for achieving financial freedom.

A question that I often get is “what are my favorite dividend stocks?”.  As a dividend growth investor, I like to invest in dividend paying companies that have a history of increasing their dividends but it also has to provide diversification within the portfolio. Unfortunately, the TSX has a limited number of stocks that have a long dividend growth history.  To see a list of top 10 dividend positions, keep reading below.

Doing some background research for 2019, I dug up 22 Canadian dividend growth stocks with the longest histories of annual dividend increases. Why 22?  I basically cut the list off of companies that have paid increasing dividends for at least 15 years. Usually, there is little change in the list because companies who have a mandate to pay increasing dividends tend to follow that pattern.

Sometimes, dividend companies get removed from the list because of 3 possible reasons – a pause in dividend increases, a dividend cut/reduction, or if the company gets acquired.  This time around, there have been two companies removed from the list, SNC Lavalin (SNC.TO) and Canadian REIT (REF.TO).  SNC is going through a tough time with fraud allegations and earnings issues and has decided to reduce its dividend to shore up the balance sheet.  Canadian REIT, on the other hand, was acquired by Choice Properties (CHP.UN) thus removed from the list.

On the other hand, there have been five new additions to the list since my last update in 2017.  These additions include:

  • Plaza Retail REIT
  • Ritchie Bros Auctioneers
  • Suncor Energy
  • Cogeco Communications Inc.
  • Telus Corporation

I have created a list below, but more due diligence is required before you buy as the only criteria I used is the number of years of increasing dividends.  This list was created by combining sources from company websites, DividendInvestor.com, and Dividend Growth Investing & Retirement.

Top Dividend Growth Stocks on the TSX

As of March 2019

Company Symbol Years of Dividend Growth 10 year avg Dividend Growth Rate Payout Ratio Current Yield
Canadian Utilities CU 47  9% 122.5% 4.77%
Fortis Inc. FTS 45 5.6% 72.45% 3.60%
Toromount Industries Ltd TIH 29  11.3% 35.18% 1.56%
Canadian Western Bank CWB 27  9.0% 37.24% 3.40%
Atco Ltd ACO.X 25  12.4% 90.69% 3.58%
Thomson Reuters TRI 25  2.5% 575.79% 2.65%
Empire Company Ltd EMP.A 24  6.6% 36.47% 1.44%
Imperial Oil IMO 24  6.7% 26.40% 2.14%
Metro Inc MRU 24  16% 31.9% 1.62%
Canadian National Railway CNR 23  14.7% 36.62% 1.89%
Enbridge Inc ENB 23  15.1% 204.77% 5.42%
Saputo Inc SAP 19  12%  33.96% 1.52%
Canadian Natural Resources CNQ 18  21%  43.75% 3.52%
SNC Lavalin SNC 16  14%  60.67% 1.93%
TransCanada Corp TRP 18  6.7%  80.31% 5.05%
Canadian REIT REF.UN 15  3.5%  88.63% 3.98%
CCL Industries CCL.B 17  16.6%  25.92% 1.25%
Finning International FTT 17  6.3%  58.14% 3.21%
Transcontinental Inc. TCL.A 17  10.3%  33.54% 4.36%
Plaza Retail REIT PLZ.UN 16  4.8%  240.3% 6.76%
Ritchie Bros Auctioneers RBA 16  7.5%  52.73% 1.96%
Suncor Energy SU 16  21.8%  83.58% 3.69%
Cogeco Communications Inc. CCA 15  16.6%  29.81% 2.48%
Telus Corporation T 15  8.7%  81.37% 4.63%

As a disclaimer, I have positions in most of the stocks listed above.  

As promised, my personal top dividend holdings include (as referenced from my Dec 2018 financial freedom update):

  1. Fortis (FTS) – 45 years of increases;
  2. Bell Canada (BCE) – 10 years of increases;
  3. Emera (EMA) – 12 years of increases ;
  4. Enbridge (ENB) – 23 years of increases;
  5. TransCanada Corp (TRP) – 18 years of increases;
  6. Royal Bank (RY) – 8 years of increases;
  7. Canadian Utilities (CU) – 47 years of increases;
  8. Telus (T) – 15 years of increases; and,
  9. Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS) – 8 years of increases.

For me, I like dividend stocks with a yield above 2.5%, a payout ratio less than 80%, strong financials, and, of course, an established track record of dividend increases.  Once I create a dividend stock watchlist, I wait for them to drop in price to reach a particular dividend yield (when to buy dividend stocks).

As previously mentioned, more due diligence is required before blindly buying companies with the longest history of dividend growth.  For example, from the table above, there are some stocks with red flags such as companies with high payout ratios. The list of stocks in this article should be treated as a starting point for your research.

If you are looking to build a portfolio of dividend growth stocks, some other considerations include market capitalization (ie. the size of the company) and diversification by sector (ie. utilities, financial services, consumer cyclical/defensive, energy, industrials, basic materials, real estate, communication services, and technology).

Notice how there are no big 5 banks on the list (they are at the 8-year mark of dividend increases)?  Goes to show that in order to have proper diversification, you need more than just the history of dividend increases.    Here is a more detailed article on how to build a diversified dividend growth portfolio.

Are you a dividend growth investor?  Which are your favorite Canadian dividend stocks?

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51 Comments

  1. Echo on April 8, 2013 at 10:33 am

    Interesting list. I’ve got some cash in my trading account but I’m having a tough time finding a dividend growth stock to buy. This gives me a few ideas investigate further.

    I recently bought SNC-Lavalin and Empire, and I’ve held Fortis for a few years.

    AGF scares me a bit with its nearly double-digit yield.

    • GYM on October 18, 2017 at 5:01 pm

      @Echo- Hey I thought you were just doing ETFs! :) Have you come back to the dark (dividend paying equities) side?

      @FT- Great list, thanks for updating it! I only have FTS and SNC-Lavalin on this list. I used to have ESI but sold it a long time ago.

  2. Canadian Dividend Blogger on April 8, 2013 at 11:22 am

    AGF hasn’t raised its dividend since July 2011, and even then they probably shouldn’t have as their earnings were dropping. There are a couple of good names here too though, like Empire, Ensign and Canadian REIT.

  3. Jordan on April 8, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    Hi Frugal — what earnings numbers do you use to calculate payout ratio? 12-mos. trailing EPS or some kind of multi-year average?

    The main reason I ask is that my spreadsheet (link below) has TCL posting losses, and a negative payout ratio currently.

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AnU4nXDzXQaidFVhV3lUdlBucXBVdENZN3hWYk1JZXc&usp=sharing

  4. John on April 8, 2013 at 6:13 pm

    With regards to your leveraged portfolio and performing the Smith manoeuvre, it is my understanding that one must have an expectation of income (in your case, dividends) in order to make the interest on their investment loan tax deductible.

    Does this then mean that any sale of securities from your leveraged portfolio are 100% taxable as income rather than 50% taxable as capital gains? Since you’ve purposefully earmarked the investment loan as an income generator to gain a tax credit on the interest paid.

    • FrugalTrader on April 8, 2013 at 7:50 pm

      @John, yes an “expectation” of income, but not “mandatory” as any equity can “potentially” pay a dividend. Sales of securities under an investment loan still qualify for capital gains tax (ie. not income).

  5. My Own Advisor on April 8, 2013 at 10:18 pm

    I hold a few position above.

    I like dividend payers above 4% and payouts under 80%. Many banks fall into that list.

    Unfortunately, few others in Canada do.

    I see very few deals in the CDN market right now.

    I would definitely avoid AGF and TCL. Regarding the latter, I don’t see any growth in TCL and there hasn’t been in 10 years.

    My favourite stocks? All 5 big banks, all telcos, all life insurance and many energy and utilities.

    I think you have more holdings than I do :)

  6. John on April 8, 2013 at 11:21 pm

    @FrugalTrader, I guess that’s where I am confused.

    Can one really declare the borrowed money is for the purpose of income generation, receive tax deductions on the interest and yet still call the purchased securities capital property?

    Purpose: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/E/pub/tp/it533/it533-e.html#P124_11018

    Disposition of Securities: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/E/pub/tp/it479r/it479r-e.html

    The disposition of securities section doesn’t really spell it out very clearly in my opinion. Your thoughts?

  7. Goldberg on April 9, 2013 at 10:05 am

    John. You are mixing apples and oranges. Owning stocks is owning a share of a business expected to earn income filtered to you directly (div) or indirectly (value appreciation) which meets purpose.

    And disposal of securities is capital gains, unless your business is repeatedly buying/selling, than that’s income. That is not the case for FT. He is a sporadic and passive investor.

    What FT is doing, tens of thousands are as well. His case is rather clear cut and uncontroversial… which is not always so.

  8. John on April 9, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    @Goldberg, thanks for your response.

    You’re right. The Smith manoeuvre is a very popular strategy and from what I’ve read the CRA hasn’t gone after anybody implementing it as such.

    As someone trying to educate himself on the exact mechanics of the Smith manoeuvre and how it fits into our tax system I still find it strange that one can declare the purpose of an investment loan to be income generating but can call the purchased securities capital property rather than income property.

    But hey, if that’s how it works…cool.

  9. Roni Mitra on April 9, 2013 at 2:33 pm

    Retail investors should always judge the smart money’s sentiment before making an investment decision.I would take these things into account when making decisions but a good article.

  10. FrugalTrader on April 9, 2013 at 7:26 pm

    @Jordan and CanadianDividendblogger, you guys are right, something doesn’t look right there. I’ll need to double check my numbers.

  11. Goldberg on April 10, 2013 at 9:33 am

    @ John. Its the same thing with every other investments, never mind Smith Manoeuvre. For example, in a regular account, if you buy income trust that channel all its earnings to shareholders through dividends, you are buying a capital asset for the purpose of income. It won’t grow much since it doesn’t invest in new projects, it just channel its earnings to dividends. But when you sell your income trust, its a capital gains.

    Smith Manoeuvre or not, buying shares is buying a business for the purpose of income. And when selling said shares, its a capital gains for sporadic, passive investors like FT.

  12. SST on April 10, 2013 at 9:03 pm

    @Roni #10: “Retail investors should always judge the smart money’s sentiment…”

    Only problem is that ‘smart money’ gets on board way before ‘retail investors’ ever take notice, and once they do, it’s the smart money that sells to them.

    Phases of a Bull Market:
    http://politicalmetals.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/phases.png?w=587

    And then there is the problem with ego.
    Most people would like to think that they are the “smart money”. ;)

  13. CanadianTaxSystemIsAJoke on April 10, 2013 at 9:58 pm

    @John Our tax system is a mess. The Smith manoeuvre is obviously an income tax avoidance mechanism (loophole) and the fact that CRA is not currently doing anything about it is mind-blowing. On the other hand there are a lot of other tax loopholes in our tax system and one can’t predict what CRA will do or not do.

    • FrugalTrader on April 11, 2013 at 9:49 am

      I don’t see it as a loophole. People borrow to invest all the time (leverage), either through equities, their business, or rental properties. How do you see the SM as a tax loophole?

  14. The Dividend Guy on April 11, 2013 at 9:56 am

    Hey FT!

    how’s your pick doing since the beginning of the year? I think it’s an interesting list but some stocks don’t pay enough dividend to be considered in my portfolio.

    I was happy to see that my list of 20 US stocks and 10 Cdn stocks both beat dividend ETFs and global index this year after 3 months.

    I should have bought all those stocks ;-) lol!

  15. Goldberg on April 11, 2013 at 11:05 am

    It’s not a tax loophole at all since there is a risk that those equities will come falling down or the dividend will be eliminated, or both. You get the deductibility for your investment loan since you are taking a risk. How large or small of a risk is not the point. It’s an investment. There’s a risk of loss. And its a loan.

    In the US, mortgage interest loans are deductible, no need for SMs. SM in Canada allows for a middle ground between the US way, and not at all. Plus it stimulates investment that otherwise wouldn’t be (since the equity would lay dormant rather than being borrowed against and invested).

    I don’t see a tax loophole here.

  16. Michael on June 15, 2013 at 11:05 pm

    Any thoughts on Royal Gold? It’s not a company I usually see in dividend lists. I’d never heard of it prior to reading your article. It looks like I might have to add it to the Canadian Dividend All-Star List as it has more than 5 years of dividend increases.

    I already own Fortis, SNC Lavalin, from your list and if CNQ drops to $25 (2% yield point) I’d be interested in buying.

  17. SST on June 16, 2013 at 2:12 am

    Don’t waste your time with anything gold.
    It is high-risk and doesn’t produce anything.

    Well…that is if you don’t count 11 years of dividend growth. :)

  18. Victor on July 31, 2013 at 4:16 am

    Great list as it has a mix of stocks from across a diversified spectrum of industries; however I invest in U.S. stocks only :) Look forward to your post on top U.S dividend growth stocks.

  19. Bernie on November 9, 2015 at 1:26 pm

    The title of your article should have read “The 16 Canadian Dividend Growth Stocks with the longest records of dividend increases for 2015”.

    Everyone’s opinion of their top 16 will vary. I wouldn’t base my favourites on length of dividend streak alone. I would choose any or all of the Canadian “big five” banks over your choice of top 16. Their streaks may be short due to freezes
    brought on by the great recession but how can anyone discount TD, BNS or CM who never once cut their dividend or RY and BMO who last cut over 70 years ago? Furthermore, some of the “top 16” you list have had only nominal increases on occasion and/or went 6 to7 quarters without an increase.

  20. Peter on November 13, 2015 at 2:29 am

    Did you mention the dividend astrocrats list for Canada? For the u.s.?

    Provides a good starting list for companies that always increase dividends…..

  21. Peter on November 15, 2015 at 12:52 am

    Good article but I don’t think it mentioned anything about the DRIP of stocks

  22. SST on November 15, 2015 at 11:25 am

    Peter, try this Canadian PF website: http://www.dividendgrowthinvestingandretirement.com/canadian-dividend-all-star-list/

    The spreadsheet has a ton of metrics/data on dividend stocks, including DRIP.

  23. Chris Daniels on November 18, 2015 at 11:45 pm

    Nice article. What about high dividend index etf’s? Ever considered that?

  24. Peter on November 19, 2015 at 2:44 am

    I disagree with Metro and Saputo in your list. The yield is too low. I prefer the sweet spot which is 3 to 4.50% yield. I also like to purchase just enough shares to have the DRIP buy 1 share and then that is dripped next dividend payment. Of course, you buy a few more shares just in case it goes up. When the yield is too low, you end up paying way too much to get a DRIP share. I prefer to get shares and this way, I am truly in it for the long run. A lot of people say they are in it for the long run. This 1 DRIP share gives me something to look forward to. The next dividend payment will be even bigger.

  25. Yves Quevillon on November 29, 2015 at 11:04 am

    What do you think of Brookfield Asset Management (TSX: BAM.A)? I am considering buying. Thanks!

    • Raleigh Epp on January 8, 2018 at 1:31 am

      I am definitely buying Brookfield Asset Management and all of its splits! Huge growth potential with all of its acquisitions.

  26. Dividend Beginner on May 8, 2016 at 8:45 pm

    Great post! Love the Canadian Dividend All-Stars and try to keep my portfolio picks within that realm. Tons of great names here.

  27. Patrick on June 13, 2016 at 6:16 pm

    In response to Peter’s comment about Saputo’s yeild being too low- in my dividend portfolio, (running for 10 yrs now) Saputo is my 2nd best performer, only bested by Starbucks. I own several of the big Canadian banks, and while their yield is higher, their value in my portfolio is average. Clearly, there is more to dividend investing than yield alone.

  28. Arlene on October 31, 2016 at 12:18 pm

    Hello! I was wondering what your thoughts were on The equitable Life Insurance Company of Canada. A financial planner thinks it’s a good idea to get whole life insurance policies for our three children, each $100,000 policies. Is this a good idea?

    • good advice on November 3, 2016 at 9:45 pm

      No, that would be very, very bad advice. Run away from whoever told you that because those products are some of the most notoriously bad financial products with many excessive and hidden fees attached.

  29. Stephen on November 4, 2016 at 1:24 am

    Some very high quality picks in that list! I’m going to have to look into them further for next year’s investment spending. Thanks!

  30. BeSmartRich on November 5, 2016 at 8:32 am

    Look at all those boring names. Haha Great lineup!
    I like SAP, HCG, CNR, MRU and CWB from there.

    I think
    SAP is a bit expensive.
    CNR and MRU are fair
    HCG and CWB are great value now.

    But if you are holding them for a decade or so, then it does not really matter.

  31. jimmy on November 28, 2016 at 2:34 am

    Why does this list not include Brookfield infrastructure (BIP.UN) or Brookfield Renewable (BEP.UN) which have 5-9% dividend growth per annum over many years and 12-15% total annual returns yearly with globally diversified businesses? Seems like a huge omission. I would take either of these over most of the companies in the list.

    • FrugalTrader on November 28, 2016 at 4:36 pm

      Good point Jimmy, BIP.UN is a very popular stock among dividend investors. My records are showing that they have increased their dividends for 8 years in a row. But you are right, I would not build a dividend portfolio solely on this list.

  32. Passivecanadianincome on February 6, 2017 at 11:44 pm

    Thanks for the list and a fantastic chat going on here. I agree brookfield renewable should be on here. I think that’s going to be one of my core holdings going forward. Unless they actually charge the 15% withholding tax on the dividend which they currently are not.

  33. Eric on February 7, 2017 at 6:07 pm

    What do you think of the following ETFs or stocks as another source of dividend generator?

    EMB :pay around 5% per year and is a portfolio of international bonds (of countries in USD)

    JNK: pay around 5.5% per year and is a portfolio of US high yield (or junk) bonds

    HYG: pay around 4% per year and is a portfolio of US high yield (or junk) bonds

    IYR: pay around 3% per year and is a portfolio of US real estate companies

    T: AT&T pay around 5% per year

    thanks!

  34. Purple on October 25, 2017 at 10:50 pm

    I agree there are more things to look at besides just dividend history. I keep the core of my portfolio based on dividend growers like Fortis and Canadian National Rail Way. But I have been doing more research into value investing and not just focusing on dividends. This has been bringing in much higher returns to my portfolio.

    Note Atco ltd owns Canadian utilities, so you wouldn’t need to own both of these businesses. I think Atco offers more diversification and has more opportunity to deliver higher returns through growth but you will get the higher yield with Canadian Utilities with a longer history of dividend growth….

  35. Passivecanadianincome on October 27, 2017 at 11:09 pm

    Nice list enbridge is one of my favourites. Waitung for a nice pullback on some others

  36. Sustainable PF on December 14, 2017 at 9:29 pm

    Would like to see the 2017 version of this list.

    • FT on December 19, 2017 at 10:59 am

      This is the 2017 version. :)

  37. negosyongpinoy on March 23, 2019 at 11:20 am

    Very interesting. I was not very familiar with dividend growth investing but I really like this concept. Thanks for the insights!

  38. van on May 27, 2019 at 11:06 am

    please enlist me

  39. Newbie on May 28, 2019 at 12:14 am

    Why is the payout so high in some cases such as energy companies?
    I see above P/O higher than 200%!
    How is this calculated?
    How can such companies pay dividends twice more than their income??

    • FT on May 28, 2019 at 9:22 am

      Payout ratio is a ratio of the payout relative to earnings. Some can pay out more because non-cash items like amortization and depreciation can be added back to their net income (cash flow). Others, they borrow (debt) to pay for their dividend. Either way, I generally don’t like to see high payout ratios.

  40. Philippe on June 11, 2019 at 11:19 pm

    What’s wrong with The Keg (KEG.UT aka KEG.UN)? 6.6% yield, slow and steady increases since 2011, 6.6% yield, 60% payout ratio, 1.89EPS

  41. Paul N on September 26, 2019 at 12:15 pm

    I’m just curious about Suncor being on this list. Even back in 2007 the price was briefly higher than pricing in this month Sept 2019. So for 12 years, is just getting the quarterly dividend (now 4%) worth holding this stock for over that time? Just trying to understand the logic. It would have been better to just purchase more Emera, or even an ETF like XEI and take the 5% dividend (monthly distribution) and utilize the cash from it.

    • FT on September 29, 2019 at 1:51 pm

      Cyclical stocks are tricky, and are usually the ones to cut their dividend first. Suncor, Exxon and other energy large caps have managed to stay the course with dividend increases. IF picking stocks are a concern, then an ETF is probably a better choice.

  42. Derek on October 24, 2019 at 12:07 pm

    where is BCE???? that’s been paying a nice dividend for years!!! not even a mention???

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