If you're an investor who resides in Canada, you shouldn't be limited to trading with a full service brokerage firm or bank, especially when online broker services offer almost all the benefits of a full service brokerage firm but at a fraction of the cost.
We all know that if done properly, stock investments can create a significant source of income for an individual investor. While some investors trade stocks on a full time basis making that their career, others buy and sell stocks as an extra source of income. Canada's Toronto Stock Exchange boasts of over $2 trillion in trades alone on an annual basis. Canadians also have the luxury of investing in US and European based stocks and mutual funds. The Internet has advanced the popularity of investing especially when one can manage their own stock portfolio from the comfort of home.
By trading stocks online in Canada, you can save a significant sum of money because online companies offer individual investors lower fees to buy and sell stock. However, be careful when researching options for either an online broker or investment manager as many of the online stockbroker companies available to places like the US are not available in Canada. The three main online stockbrokers available in Canada are the Royal Bank of Canada's Direct Investing service, ING Canada and Questrade.
Due diligence is key when evaluating the relative merits between online stock trading companies. Make sure to get the details including the fine print on their pricing plans to ensure that you are getting the lowest broker fees as befit your trading lifestyle. Since not all online broker firms are alike, don't assume that just because the fees are cheaper the whole plan is cheaper because that may not always be the case. Some of the more inexpensive plans require you to invest a certain amount of money each month whereby another plan won't care how many stocks you buy as long as you have an account with them.
Remember that it's up to you to keep track of your stock market earnings because each year you will have to pay taxes to the federal government of Canada on any capital gains you have made in your investments. The Canada Revenue Agency's guide to capital gains is a smart read before you decide to make your fortune trading online.