Best Canadian ETFs

This Page's Content Was Last Updated: September 19, 2022
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What You Should Know

  • Exchange traded funds (ETFs), like mutual funds, use economies of scale to execute various investment strategies.
  • ETFs, like stocks, trade on an exchange to provide immediate liquidity to investors.
  • ETFs enable small investors to benefit from diversification.
  • Know how the ETF you are buying invests (speculates).
  • Always note the management expense ratio and liquidity of an ETF before buying.

Best Canadian ETFs

There are around 1000 ETFs listed in Canada. So it is practically impossible to review all of them. Counting by number, around one-third of the Canadian ETFs are actively managed. Counting by assets under management, around a quarter of the Canadian ETFs are actively managed. ETFs are the cheapest means for having your money managed by professional money managers and hopefully beating the market.

An investor should first decide on the best investment strategy based on their understanding of the market situation and possibly their values. The next step would be to compare ETFs which execute that strategy based on the fees they charge, liquidity they provide and the quality with which they perform their strategy.

You can always download an ETF’s prospectus from the website of its manager (provider). The prospectus is generally a lengthy disclosure document about each security which is published before that security is offered to retail investors. You should be able to download a much shorter document called a fact sheet containing the most important and relevant information about an ETF.

On this page, we build a table which contains the largest and most liquid Canadian ETFs together with many smaller ETFs for specific investment or speculation purposes. We have tabulated the essential characteristics of those ETFs. Several bar charts on this page show the best Canadian ETFs based on different characteristics. On this page, we use total return values to compare ETFs. Total return takes into account both capital appreciation (depreciation) as well as all distributions (dividends). You can think of total return as your return on investment (ROI).

Best Canadian ETFs, based on 5-year risk-weighted return

In this work, we have used five-year weekly volatility (5YWV) normalized by average price (AP) as a measure of risk (5YWV/AP). Further we have used (5 year return/(√(5YWV/AP)) as risk-adjusted return. This measure is devised for ranking on this page. Its appropriateness for any other purpose is not guaranteed.

Ticker SymbolBenchmark TrackedCategory/Sector
U-UNPhysical Uranium0.35%1M$290M-6.8%199%197%233%286.8%Passive/Commodity
HQU2x NASDAQ-1001.49%1.2M$190M-48%-26.2%62%154%209.57%Passive, non-financial
ZQQNasdaq 100 Equity Hedged0.39%105K$1.4B-25%-8.5%47%94%166.17%Passive, non-financial
VFVS&P 5000.09%131K$4.63B-13.9%6.1%34%73%159.3%Passive, broad index
VUNCRSP US Total Market0.16%42.8K$3.81B-15%0.9%30.6%67%146.21%Passive, broad index
XUUS&P Total Market0.07%42.4K$2.03B-14.5%2.9%31.1%67%146.21%Passive, broad index
XIUS&P/TSX 600.18%5.122M$11.7B-8.5%12.4%28.4%50%138.68%Passive, broad index
COWManulife Asset Management Global Agriculture0.72%13K$376M3.5%10.3%41.2%65%134.06%Passive/Agricultural

Best Canadian ETFs, based on 5-year return

Ticker SymbolBenchmark TrackedCategory/Sector
U-UNPhysical Uranium0.35%1M$290M-6.8%199%197%233%0.66Passive/Commodity
HQU2x NASDAQ-1001.49%1.2M$190M-48%-26.2%62%154%0.54Passive, non-financial
ZQQNasdaq 100 Equity Hedged0.39%105K$1.4B-25%-8.5%47%94%0.32Passive, non-financial
VFVS&P 5000.09%131K$4.63B-13.9%6.1%34%73%0.21Passive, broad index
VUNCRSP US Total Market0.16%42.8K$3.81B-15%0.9%30.6%67%0.21Passive, broad index
XUUS&P Total Market0.07%42.4K$2.03B-14.5%2.9%31.1%67%0.21Passive, broad index
COWManulife Asset Management Global Agriculture0.72%13K$376M3.5%10.3%41.2%65%0.2351Passive/Agricultural
VSPS&P 500 Index (CAD-Hedged)0.09%68.8K$1.59B-17.3%3.3%30.2%59%0.21Passive, broad index

Best Canadian ETFs, based on 3-year return

Ticker SymbolBenchmark TrackedCategory/Sector
U-UNPhysical Uranium0.35%1M$290M-6.8%199%197%233%0.66Passive/Commodity
HQU2x NASDAQ-1001.49%1.2M$190M-48%-26.2%62%154%0.54Passive, non-financial
HMJIInverse North American MOC Marijuana1.99%900K$3.5M55%113%49%NA0.41Passive, Pharmaceutical
ZEOSolactive Equal Weight Canada Oil & Gas0.61%116K$235M11.2%86%48%32.4%0.25Passive, energy index
ZQQNasdaq 100 Equity Hedged0.39%105K$1.4B-25%-8.5%47%94%0.32Passive, non-financial
COWManulife Asset Management Global Agriculture0.72%13K$376M3.5%10.3%41.2%65%0.2351Passive/Agricultural
PRAcommodities and equities linked to real assets0.6%13K$88M1.5%23.6%37.8%52%0.178Active, Broad
ZEBSolactive Equal Weight Canada Banks0.28%1M$3.07B-15.8%21.2%36.2%52%0.2Passive, financial index

Best Canadian ETFs, based on 1.5-year return

Ticker SymbolBenchmark TrackedCategory/Sector
HEU2X S&P/TSX Capped Energy1.64%240K$55M11.4%287%19.6%-27.8%0.62Passive, energy index
HOUHorizons Crude Oil Rolling Futures1.39%520K$79M32.4%217%-95%-94%0.98Passive, commodity
U-UNPhysical Uranium0.35%1M$290M-6.8%199%197%233%0.66Passive/Commodity
HMJIInverse North American MOC Marijuana1.99%900K$3.5M55%113%49%NA0.41Passive, Pharmaceutical
ZEOSolactive Equal Weight Canada Oil & Gas0.61%116K$235M11.2%86%48%32.4%0.25Passive, energy index
HFU2X S&P/TSX Capped Financials1.64%10K$25M-29.2%31.3%29.4%54%0.29Passive, non-financial
HCAL1.25X Solactive Canadian Bank Mean Reversion1.06%61K$350M-19.3%27.5%NANA0.16Passive, financial
PRAcommodities and equities linked to real assets0.6%13K$88M1.5%23.6%37.8%52%0.178Active, Broad

Best Canadian ETFs, based on 1/2-year return

Ticker SymbolBenchmark TrackedCategory/Sector
BITIInverse Bitcoin futures1.98%140K$68M76%NANANA0.26Passive, currency
HMJIInverse North American MOC Marijuana1.99%900K$3.5M55%113%49%NA0.41Passive, Pharmaceutical
HQD2X Inverse Nasdaq-1001.64%1.5M$107M48%-12.3%-79%-90%0.74Passive, broad index
HOUHorizons Crude Oil Rolling Futures1.39%520K$79M32.4%217%-95%-94%0.98Passive, commodity
HFD-2X S&P/TSX Capped Financials1.65%59K$12M31.2%-35.8%-67%-75%0.44Passive, non-financial
HUCSolactive Light Sweet Crude Oil Winter MD Rolling Futures0.89%7.94K$30.1M23.1%1%0.7%1.1%0.26Passive, commodity
HIUInverse S&P 500 hedged1.41%91K$68M17.8%-8.7%-37.2%-51%0.27Passive, broad index
XEGTSX Capped Energy Index0.61%4.12M$1.93B14.3%1.3%0.7%0.5%0.32Passive, energy index

Best Canadian ETFs, based on risk

Ticker SymbolBenchmark TrackedCategory/Sector
XBBFTSE Canada Universe Bond0.1%105K$4.63B-9.4%-13.5%-6.6%1.6%0.06Passive, bond
VVOGlobal Minimum Volatility0.4%400K$44M-7.1%-0.5%2.3%20.1%0.08Active, broad
XTRincome-bearing asset0.61%126K$553M-8.4%-0.42%6.8%16.6%0.0824Active, ETFs
XIUS&P/TSX 600.18%5.122M$11.7B-8.5%12.4%28.4%50%0.13Passive, broad index
CGLGold Bullion0.55%54K$703M-6.3%-8.4%17.6%28.7%0.15Passive/Commodity
ZWBCovered Call Canadian Banks0.71%180K$2.5B-19.1%7.8%17.2%28.3%0.158Active, financial
RCECanadian equity securities0.44%600K$12M-10.8%9%22.8%40%0.159Passive, broad

Largest Canadian ETFs

Ticker SymbolBenchmark TrackedCategory/Sector
XIUS&P/TSX 600.18%5.122M$11.7B-8.5%12.4%28.4%50%0.13Passive, broad index
ZSPS&P 5000.09%164K$9.2B-13.9%6.3%33.5%72%0.21Passive, broad index
XICS&P/TSX Capped0.06%686K$8.72B-10.6%8.1%23.3%42%0.16Passive, broad index
XBBFTSE Canada Universe Bond0.1%105K$4.63B-9.4%-13.5%-6.6%1.6%0.06Passive, bond
VUNCRSP US Total Market0.16%42.8K$3.81B-15%0.9%30.6%67%0.21Passive, broad index
PSLVPhysical Silver0.62%68K$3.8B-19.5%-26.6%5%NA0.2Passive/Commodity
VCNFTSE Canada All Cap Domestic0.05%84K$3.6B-12.9%7.2%21.3%38.8%0.163Passive, broad index
ZEBSolactive Equal Weight Canada Banks0.28%1M$3.07B-15.8%21.2%36.2%52%0.2Passive, financial index

Most traded (liquid) Canadian ETFs

Ticker SymbolBenchmark TrackedCategory/Sector
XIUS&P/TSX 600.18%5.122M$11.7B-8.5%12.4%28.4%50%0.13Passive, broad index
XEGTSX Capped Energy Index0.61%4.12M$1.93B14.3%1.3%0.7%0.5%0.32Passive, energy index
HOD2X Inverse Horizons Crude Oil Rolling Futures Hedged1.45%2.6M$69M-58%-90%-88%-0.95%0.57Passive, Commodity
HQD2X Inverse Nasdaq-1001.64%1.5M$107M48%-12.3%-79%-90%0.74Passive, broad index
HQU2x NASDAQ-1001.49%1.2M$190M-48%-26.2%62%154%0.54Passive, non-financial
ZEBSolactive Equal Weight Canada Banks0.28%1M$3.07B-15.8%21.2%36.2%52%0.2Passive, financial index
U-UNPhysical Uranium0.35%1M$290M-6.8%199%197%233%0.66Passive/Commodity
HMJIInverse North American MOC Marijuana1.99%900K$3.5M55%113%49%NA0.41Passive, Pharmaceutical

Lowest Fee Canadian ETFs

Ticker SymbolBenchmark TrackedCategory/Sector
HXTS&P/TSX 600.04%775K$3.54B-10.7%11.9%27.6%49%0.17Passive, broad index
VCNFTSE Canada All Cap Domestic0.05%84K$3.6B-12.9%7.2%21.3%38.8%0.163Passive, broad index
XICS&P/TSX Capped0.06%686K$8.72B-10.6%8.1%23.3%42%0.16Passive, broad index
XUUS&P Total Market0.07%42.4K$2.03B-14.5%2.9%31.1%67%0.21Passive, broad index
VSPS&P 500 Index (CAD-Hedged)0.09%68.8K$1.59B-17.3%3.3%30.2%59%0.21Passive, broad index
ZSPS&P 5000.09%164K$9.2B-13.9%6.3%33.5%72%0.21Passive, broad index
XBBFTSE Canada Universe Bond0.1%105K$4.63B-9.4%-13.5%-6.6%1.6%0.06Passive, bond
VUNCRSP US Total Market0.16%42.8K$3.81B-15%0.9%30.6%67%0.21Passive, broad index

In most cases, you can expect to pay a lower management fee when using an ETF than a mutual fund.

Generally, investment strategies and thus ETFs can be divided into two broad categories. One category includes active investment and the other passive investment strategies. Passive investment strategies might try to replicate the performance of a country's stock market or a region's stock market, or specific sectors of a market (for example, financials, utilities, tech companies), or they might try to replicate changes in the price of one or a basket of commodities. Active investments rely on the judgement of investment managers (for example, buying undervalued stocks or buying stocks with the highest growth potential or picking safe, high-yield bonds).

Examples of actively managed ETFs:

  • ZWB - BMO Covered Call Canadian Banks ETF
  • PRA - Purpose liersified Real Asset ETF
  • XTR - iShares liersified Monthly Income ETF
  • VVO - Global Minimum Volatility ETF

Investment Cost

ETFs are the cheapest means for having your money managed by professional money managers and hopefully beating the market. Active ETFs have higher management fees than passive ETFs. The efficient market hypothesis tells us that you cannot beat the market by active trading. Yet, both the theoretical bases and empirical success of the efficient market hypothesis stem from the presence of active investors and traders.

Bond ETFs

There is a consensus among investment professionals that every balanced portfolio should include bonds. But trading bonds is more complicated than trading stocks. For one, unlike stocks that trade on transparent public exchanges, bonds trade over the counter, except for a few corporate bonds listed on exchanges. Also, each bond trade often involves much larger dollar values than a typical stock trade. As a result, direct access to the bond market is quite limited for retail investors, and they need to use a mutual fund or an ETF to access the bond market.

Examples of Bond ETFs:

  • VDY - Vanguard FTSE CDN High Div Yld Index ETF
  • XBB - iShares Core CDN Universe Bond ETF

Money Market ETFs

Some ETFs deposit money in high-interest savings accounts; in this regard, they are just like a fund investing in very short-term debt instruments and can be treated as a way of holding cash.

Examples of Money Market ETFs:

  • HSAV - Horizons Cash Maximizer ETF
  • CASH - Horizons High-Interest Savings ETF
  • CSAV - CI High-Interest Savings ETF
  • PSA - Purpose High-Interest Savings ETF
  • HISA-NEO - Evolve High-Interest Savings Account Fund
  • NSAV-NE - Ninepoint High-Interest Savings Fund ETF Series

Regional Stock ETFs

Canada

XIU - S&P TSX 60 Index ETF

BlackRock has created the iShares S&P TSX 60 Index ETF with Instrument Symbol (XIU). This is one of the largest and most liquid ETFs in Canada. XIU provides exposure to large, established Canadian companies. It seeks long-term capital growth by replicating the S&P/TSX 60 Index's performance net of expenses.

Net Assets of XIU as of Jun 30, 2022, was CAD 10,853,939,726; units Outstanding as of Jun 30, 2022, were 374,400,000. Management Expense Ratio (MER) for XIU is 0.18%.

Sector Representation in XIU

IndustryWeight (%) in XIU
Financials36.36
Energy18.01
Industrials11.20
Materials10.17
Communication6.15
Information Technology5.38
Consumer Staples4.25
Utilities4.07
Consumer Discretionary3.43
Real Estate0.63

Largest holdings of XIU (ETF stocks)

as of Jun 30, 2022

TickerNameSectorMarket Value
RYROYAL BANK OF CANADAFinancialsCAD 862.0M
TDTORONTO DOMINIONFinancialsCAD 749.5M
ENBENBRIDGE INCEnergyCAD 537.8M
BNSBANK OF NOVA SCOTIAFinancialsCAD 447.9M
CNRCANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYIndustrialsCAD 420.2M
BAM.ABROOKFIELD ASSET MANAGEMENT INC CLFinancialsCAD 408.4M
CPCANADIAN PACIFIC RAILWAY LTDIndustrialsCAD 408.2M
BMOBANK OF MONTREALFinancialsCAD 405.8M
CNQCANADIAN NATURAL RESOURCES LTDEnergyCAD 389.8M
TRPTC ENERGY CORPEnergyCAD 319.3M

HXT - Horizons S&P TSX 60 Index ETF

At the beginning of the second half of 2022, HXT had $3.8B of AUM and 76.7M shares outstanding. HXT is managed by Horizons ETFs Management (Canada) Inc. The management fee for HXT is 0.07% rebated by 0.03% to an effective management fee of 0.04% until at least December 31, 2022. Thus MER for HXT is 0.04%.

Sector Representation in HXT

SectorWeight (%) in HXT
Financial Services36.5
Energy18.8
Basic Material10.5
Industrials10.3
Communication Services6.0
Technology5.4
Consumer Cyclical4.9
Utilities3.8
Consumer Defensive3.0

XIC - iShares Core S&P TSX Capped Comp ETF

The S&P/TSX Composite Index is the headline and broadest index of Canadian equities and was launched in 1977. S&P TSX Composite Index is both a benchmark and an investable index. XIC is a BlackRock ETF (note the brand iShares) which allows you to own the entire Canadian stock market. As of Jun 30, 2022, Net Assets were $8,686,519,480, while units outstanding as of Jun 30, 2022, were 289,600,000. The management Fee for this fund is 0.05%, and the Management Expense Ratio (MER) is 0.06%.

Sector Representation in XIC

SectorWeight (%) in XIC
Financial Services31.69
Energy18.35
Industrials12.02
Materials11.62
Information Technology5.34
Communication5.19
Utilities5.17
Consumer Staples4.06
Consumer Discretionary3.27
Real Estate2.68

Largest holdings of XIC (ETF stocks)

TickerNameSectorMarket Value
RYROYAL BANK OF CANADAFinancialsCAD 559.6M
TDTORONTO DOMINIONFinancialsCAD 486.6M
ENBENBRIDGE INCEnergyCAD 349.1M
BNSBANK OF NOVA SCOTIAFinancialsCAD 290.8M
CNRCANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYIndustrialsCAD 272.8M
BAM.ABROOKFIELD ASSET MANAGEMENT INC CLFinancialsCAD 265.1M
CPCANADIAN PACIFIC RAILWAY LTDIndustrialsCAD 265.0M
BMOBANK OF MONTREALFinancialsCAD 263.4M
CNQCANADIAN NATURAL RESOURCES LTDEnergyCAD 253.0M
TRPTC ENERGY CORPEnergyCAD 207.3M

Examples of Canadian ETFs:

  • ZCN - BMO S&P/TSX Capped Composite Index ETF
  • HXT - Horizons S&P/TSX 60™ Index ETF
  • VCN - Vanguard FTSE Canada All Cap ETF
  • ZLB - BMO Low Volatility CAD Equity ETF

United States

XSP - iShares Core S&P 500 ETF CAD Hdg ETF

Standard and Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) is a stock index which tracks the performance of (currently) 503 large public companies in the US. It is the most followed equity index in the world. This index weights its components based on their freely floated shares market capitalization. As a result, this index is somewhat concentrated on the largest corporations in the US, which are the largest in the world. Although many components of the S&P 500 are international corporations, on average, they earn close to ¾ of their revenue in the US.

XSP allows you to own a diverse portfolio of around 500 US large-cap companies while hedging currency risk. Net Assets of XSP as of Jun 30, 2022, was CAD 7,129,955,741, while Units Outstanding as of Jun 30, 2022, were 176,375,000 units. Its Management Fee is 0.09%, and its Management Expense Ratio (MER) is 0.10%.

Sector Representation in S&P 500

SectorWeight (%) in S&P 500
Information Technology26.75
Health Care15.09
Financials10.80
Consumer Discretionary10.50
Communication8.84
Industrials7.78
Consumer Staples6.96
Energy4.34
Utilities3.10
Real Estate2.92

Largest holdings of XSP

TickerNameSectorMarket Value
IVViShares CORE S&P 500 ETFFinancialsCAD 7.1B
USDUSD CASHCash and/or DerivativesCAD 157.3M

Examples of U.S. ETFs:

  • ZSP - BMO S&P 500 Index ETF (CAD)
  • VFV - Vanguard S&P 500 Index ETF
  • VUN - U.S. Total Market Index ETF
  • XUU - iShares Core S&P U.S. Total Market Index ETF
  • VSP - Vanguard S&P 500 Index ETF (CAD-hedged)
  • ZQQ - BMO Nasdaq 100 Hedged To CAD Index ETF
  • XQQ - iShares Nasdaq 100 Index ETF
  • XUS - iShares Core S&P 500 Index ETF

Industry/Sector Stock ETFs

Energy Sector ETFs

XEG - iShares S&P TSX Capped Energy Index ETF

XEG, which is a BlackRock ETF, provides targeted exposure to companies in the Canadian energy sector. Net Assets of XEG as of Jun 30, 2022, was CAD 2,159,456,483. S&P/TSX Capped Energy Index Units Outstanding as of Jun 30, 2022, were 145,800,000. The management Fee for this fund is 0.55% and the Management Expense Ratio (MER) is 0.61%.

Largest holdings of XEG (ETF stocks)

TickerNameSectorMarket Value
CNQCANADIAN NATURAL RESOURCES LTDEnergyCAD 549.8M
SUSUNCOR ENERGY INCEnergyCAD 535.0M
CVECENOVUS ENERGY INCEnergyCAD 255.0M
TOUTOURMALINE OIL CORPEnergyCAD 174.7M
IMOIMPERIAL OIL LTDEnergyCAD 97.1M
ARXARC RESOURCES LTDEnergyCAD 92.8M
MEGMEG ENERGY CORPEnergyCAD 46.4M
CPGCRESCENT POINT ENERGY CORPEnergyCAD 41.7M
WCPWHITECAP RESOURCES INCEnergyCAD 37.1M
ERFENERPLUS CORPEnergyCAD 34.3M

This ETF replicates the performance of the S&P/TSX Capped Energy Index. The ETF primarily invests in equity securities issued by Canadian issuers participating in the energy sector. The Index is composed of constituents of the S&P TSX Composite Index that are assigned to Energy and which are not assigned to any of the oil & gas refining & marketing, oil & gas storage & transportation and coal & consumable fuels. Individual constituents are capped at 25% weight.

Example of an Energy Sector ETF:

  • ZEO - BMO S&P TSX Eql Weight Oil Gas Index ETF

Financial Sector ETFs

Financial sector primarily includes banking, insurance and wealth management. Often large financial corporations are diversified and engaged in two or all three of these activities. Still, we can divide Canadian financial stocks into Canadian banking stocks, Canadian insurance stocks and Canadian wealth management stocks.

ZEB - The BMO Equal Weight Banks Index ETF

ZEB replicates the performance of the Solactive Equal Weight Canada Banks Index. The Fund invests in the Constituent Securities of the Index in the same proportion as they are reflected in the Index. The Solactive Equal Weight Canada Banks Index includes Canadian exchange-listed securities in the diversified bank industry. Constituents are subject to minimum market capitalization and liquidity screens. ZEB provides exposure to Canadian bank stocks; it is equal-weighted and is managed by BMO Global Asset Management. Maximum Annual Management Fee equals 0.25% and its Management Expense Ratio is 0.28%.

Holdings of ZEB

TickerNameMarket ValueWeight (%)
RYROYAL BANK OF CANADACAD 542.2M17.75
NANATIONAL BANK OF CANADACAD 519.3M17.00
TDTORONTO-DOMINION BANK/THECAD 517.3M16.93
BMOBANK OF MONTREALCAD 505.7M16.55
BNSBANK OF NOVA SCOTIA/THECAD 498.7M16.32
CMCANADIAN IMPERIAL BANK OF COMMERCECAD 472.7M15.27

Example of a Finanical Sector ETF:

  • XGN, iShares S&P TSX Capped Financials ETF

Real Estate

A REIT ETF owns several Real Estate Investment Trusts. Also, an ETF can be designed for holding shares of companies related to real estate.

Examples of Real Estate ETFs:

  • XRE - iShares S&P TSX Capped REIT Index ETF
  • CGR - iShares Global Real Estate Index ETF
  • HGR - Harvest Global REIT Leaders Income ETF

Commodity ETFs

Some commodity ETFs buy and store the physical commodity. Other commodity ETFs enter into futures contracts to gain exposure to the price of that commodity. Still, other commodity ETFs invest in the stocks of commodity producers or miners to gain exposure to the price of that commodity.

Examples of Commodity ETFs:

  • HUC - Horizons Crude Oil ETF
  • XGD - iShares S&P/TSX Global Gold Index ETF
  • CGL - iShares Gold Bullion ETF
  • PSLV - Sprott Physical Silver Trust ETF
  • COW - iShares Global Agriculture Index ETF
  • U - Sprott Physical Uranium Trust

Currency ETFs

You can use a currency ETF to hedge your currency exposure (for example, to mitigate the risk of increasing payments for a USD-denominated loan) or to mitigate the risk of a USD-denominated income decreasing) or to speculate on future changes in exchange rates.

Example of a Currency ETF:

  • DLR - Horizons US Dollar Currency ETF

Cryptocurrency ETFs

There are problems with fiat currencies like the Canadian or US dollar. One problem is the sizable cost of cross-border transactions, and the other is the ability of central banks to inflate the money supply. Such problems are much worse and more numerous for unstable currencies like the Iranian Rial, Vietnamese Dong, and Indonesian Rupiah.

The invention of blockchain technology made decentralized money possible; decentralized currencies created based on blockchain technology are called cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency; it relies on the information about each transaction being stored in all nodes immutably, thus making cheating or robbery practically impossible.

As the name suggests, cryptocurrencies are currencies. In other words, they are means of facilitating trade and not an investment. Buying Apple shares is an investment since Apple makes and sells gadgets with a hefty profit margin, buying a house is an investment since the home provides shelter (which is valuable), and purchasing an orchard is an investment since an orchard produces fruit. Neither the Swiss Franc nor Bitcoin delivers or provides anything, so keeping them is not an investment.

One might speculate that prices may rise or fall in Bitcoin (or Ethereum). To make money from such speculation, you might use the following ETFs. The following ETFs were all created during 2021 when central banks were quite busy creating money and governments were very busy distributing that money.

BTCC - Purpose Bitcoin ETF

BTCC is a product of Purpose Investments that offers exposure to Bitcoin by buying Bitcoins and storing them in an electronic wallet. BTCC units are offered in three different flavours. The default flavour is traded in Canadian dollars while your currency exposure is hedged. BTCC.B is traded in Canadian dollars with no currency hedging. BTCC.U is traded in US dollars. It incurs a 1% management fee.

EBIT - Evolve Bitcoin ETF

Evolve Bitcoin is offered in two flavours. One trades in Canadian dollars with ticker symbol EBIT and the other trades in US dollars with ticker symbol EBIT.U. This incurs a Management fee of 0.75% and has 0.00037791 BTC per share.

BTCX.B - CI Galaxy Bitcoin ETF

CI Investments in partnership with Galaxy Digital Capital Management created and manages this ETF. BTCX.B trades in Canadian dollars while BTCX.U trades in US dollars. The management fee for BTCX is 0.40%, and it has 0.000192 BTC per unit. It also stores 100% of its assets in a cold wallet.

Examples of Cryptocurrency ETFs:

  • ETHX - CI Galaxy Ethereum
  • ETHR - Evolve Ether ETF
  • ETC.T - Evolve Cryptocurrencies ETF

Inverse ETFs

To speculate on a decline in an asset's price or hedge your exposure to the price of an asset, you might need to short sell that asset. Selling an asset short means borrowing that asset and selling it. At some point in the future, you must buy the asset and return it. The lower the asset price goes, the greater your gain, and the higher the asset price goes, the greater your loss. Short sales are hazardous trades as the potential for gain is limited while potential loss is unlimited. Many people use a tax shelter for growing their wealth and short sales are not permitted in tax-sheltered accounts, like a tax-free savings account, a registered retirement savings plan or a tax-free first home savings account. Inverse ETFs can act as a substitute for short sales.

Examples of Inverse ETFs:

  • HIU - Horizons BetaPro S&P 500 Daily Inverse ETF
  • HMJI - Horizons BetaPro Marijuana Companies Inverse ETF
  • HIX - Horizons BetaPro S&P/TSX 60 Daily Inverse ETF
  • HOD - Horizons BetaPro Crude Oil Inverse Leveraged Daily Bear ETF
  • HQD - Horizons BetaPro Nasdaq-100 -2x Daily Bear ETF
  • BITI - Horizons BetaPro Inverse Bitcoin ETF
  • HBD - Horizons BetaPro Gold Bullion -2x Daily Bear ETF

Leveraged ETFs

When you expect a price movement in the short term, you can use leveraged ETFs to enhance the return on your speculation. Be forewarned that leveraged ETFs enhance your risk as well. First, if you are mistaken about the direction of the price move, their leverage would enhance your loss. Second, to keep their leverage at a constant number, leveraged ETFs have to buy the underlying asset each time the price increases and sell each time the price decreases. Thus with a leveraged ETF, time is against you.

Examples of Leveraged ETFs:

  • HBU - Horizons BetaPro Gold Bullion 2x Daily Bull ETF
  • HCAL - Hamilton Enhanced Canadian Bank ETF
  • HGU - Horizons BetaPro Canadian Gold Miners 2x Daily Bull ETF
  • HOU - Horizons BetaPro Crude Oil 2x Daily Bull
  • HQU - Horizons BetaPro NASDAQ-100 2x Daily Bull ETF
  • HED - BetaPro S&P/TSX Capped Energy -2x Daily Bear ETF
  • HEU - BetaPro S&P/TSX Capped Energy 2x Daily Bull ETF
  • HFD - BetaPro S&P/TSX Capped Financials -2x Daily Bear ETF
  • HFU - BetaPro S&P/TSX Capped Financials 2x Daily Bull ETF
  • HGD - BetaPro Canadian Gold Miners -2x Daily Bear ETF
  • HGU - BetaPro Canadian Gold Miners 2x Daily Bull ETF
  • HMJU - BetaPro Marijuana Companies 2x Daily Bull ETF
  • HND - BetaPro Natural Gas -2x Daily Bear ETF
  • HNU - BetaPro Natural Gas 2x Daily Bull ETF
  • HQD - BetaPro NASDAQ-100 -2x Daily Bear ETF
  • HQU - BetaPro NASDAQ-100 2x Daily Bull ETF
  • HSD - BetaPro S&P 500 -2x Daily Bear ETF
  • HSU - BetaPro S&P 500 2x Daily Bull ETF
  • HXD - BetaPro S&P/TSX 60 -2x Daily Bear ETF
  • HXU - BetaPro S&P/TSX 60 2x Daily Bull ETF
  • Vanguard Growth ETF Portfolio

Summary of ETFs

Ticker SymbolBenchmark TrackedCategory/Sector
U-UNPhysical Uranium0.35%1M$290M-6.8%199%197%233%0.66Passive/Commodity
HQU2x NASDAQ-1001.49%1.2M$190M-48%-26.2%62%154%0.54Passive, non-financial
ZQQNasdaq 100 Equity Hedged0.39%105K$1.4B-25%-8.5%47%94%0.32Passive, non-financial
XQQNASDAQ-100 Currency Hedged0.39%140K$1.7B-24.9%-11.7%42%88%0.32Passive, non-financial
VFVS&P 5000.09%131K$4.63B-13.9%6.1%34%73%0.21Passive, broad index
ZSPS&P 5000.09%164K$9.2B-13.9%6.3%33.5%72%0.21Passive, broad index
VUNCRSP US Total Market0.16%42.8K$3.81B-15%0.9%30.6%67%0.21Passive, broad index
XUUS&P Total Market0.07%42.4K$2.03B-14.5%2.9%31.1%67%0.21Passive, broad index
COWManulife Asset Management Global Agriculture0.72%13K$376M3.5%10.3%41.2%65%0.2351Passive/Agricultural
VSPS&P 500 Index (CAD-Hedged)0.09%68.8K$1.59B-17.3%3.3%30.2%59%0.21Passive, broad index
XSPS&P 5000.1%473K$7.28B-17.2%0.3%26.4%54%0.21Passive, broad index
HFU2X S&P/TSX Capped Financials1.64%10K$25M-29.2%31.3%29.4%54%0.29Passive, non-financial
ZEBSolactive Equal Weight Canada Banks0.28%1M$3.07B-15.8%21.2%36.2%52%0.2Passive, financial index
PRAcommodities and equities linked to real assets0.6%13K$88M1.5%23.6%37.8%52%0.178Active, Broad
XIUS&P/TSX 600.18%5.122M$11.7B-8.5%12.4%28.4%50%0.13Passive, broad index
HXTS&P/TSX 600.04%775K$3.54B-10.7%11.9%27.6%49%0.17Passive, broad index
ZCNS&P/TSX Capped0.06%147K$6.7B-10.6%9.4%23.4%43%0.16Passive, broad index
XICS&P/TSX Capped0.06%686K$8.72B-10.6%8.1%23.3%42%0.16Passive, broad index
RCECanadian equity securities0.44%600K$12M-10.8%9%22.8%40%0.159Passive, broad
VCNFTSE Canada All Cap Domestic0.05%84K$3.6B-12.9%7.2%21.3%38.8%0.163Passive, broad index
ZEOSolactive Equal Weight Canada Oil & Gas0.61%116K$235M11.2%86%48%32.4%0.25Passive, energy index
CGLGold Bullion0.55%54K$703M-6.3%-8.4%17.6%28.7%0.15Passive/Commodity
ZWBCovered Call Canadian Banks0.71%180K$2.5B-19.1%7.8%17.2%28.3%0.158Active, financial
HBU2X Solactive Gold Front Month MD Rolling Futures1.65%15K$15M-13.8%-20.7%7.7%24%0.21Passive, commodity
VVOGlobal Minimum Volatility0.4%400K$44M-7.1%-0.5%2.3%20.1%0.08Active, broad
XTRincome-bearing asset0.61%126K$553M-8.4%-0.42%6.8%16.6%0.0824Active, ETFs
HIXInverse S&P/TSX 601.42%47K$23M-20.7%-14.6%-4.4%8.5%0.15Passive, broad index
XBBFTSE Canada Universe Bond0.1%105K$4.63B-9.4%-13.5%-6.6%1.6%0.06Passive, bond
HUCSolactive Light Sweet Crude Oil Winter MD Rolling Futures0.89%7.94K$30.1M23.1%1%0.7%1.1%0.26Passive, commodity
XEGTSX Capped Energy Index0.61%4.12M$1.93B14.3%1.3%0.7%0.5%0.32Passive, energy index
XGDS&P/TSX Global Gold0.61%452K$969M-0.1%-0.1%0.1%0.4%0.26Passive/ mining
HOD2X Inverse Horizons Crude Oil Rolling Futures Hedged1.45%2.6M$69M-58%-90%-88%-0.95%0.57Passive, Commodity
HGU2X Solactive Canadian Gold Miners1.35%360K$86M-23.5%-44%-33.7%-12.9%0.39Passive, Mining
HGU2X Solactive Canadian Gold Miners1.65%370K$77M-23.5%-44%-33.7%-13%0.39Passive, Mining
HEU2X S&P/TSX Capped Energy1.64%240K$55M11.4%287%19.6%-27.8%0.62Passive, energy index
HIUInverse S&P 500 hedged1.41%91K$68M17.8%-8.7%-37.2%-51%0.27Passive, broad index
HBD2X Inverse Gold Futures hedged1.64%3.6K$3M8.2%1.9%-44%-59%0.38Passive, commodity
HFD-2X S&P/TSX Capped Financials1.65%59K$12M31.2%-35.8%-67%-75%0.44Passive, non-financial
HGD-2X Solactive Canadian Gold Miners1.65%150K$16M-0.6%-1.4%-75%-88%0.84Passive, Mining
HQD2X Inverse Nasdaq-1001.64%1.5M$107M48%-12.3%-79%-90%0.74Passive, broad index
HOUHorizons Crude Oil Rolling Futures1.39%520K$79M32.4%217%-95%-94%0.98Passive, commodity
HED-2X S&P/TSX Capped Energy1.65%342K$9.5M-36.2%-88%-96%-96%0.76Passive, energy index
PSLVPhysical Silver0.62%68K$3.8B-19.5%-26.6%5%NA0.2Passive/Commodity
BTCCBitcoin price1%533K$129M-51%NANANA0.28Passive/Currency
EBITBitcoin price0.75%224K$51M-54%NANANA0.27Passive/Currency
BTCX-BBitcoin price0.4%460K$380K-48%NANANA0.27Passive/Currency
ETHXEther price0.74%505K$490K-61%NANANA0.32Passive/Currency
ETHREther price0.75%78K$28M-61%NANANA0.32Passive/Currency
ETCBitcoin+Ether0.75%14K$12M-52%NANANA0.32Passive/Currency
HMJIInverse North American MOC Marijuana1.99%900K$3.5M55%113%49%NA0.41Passive, Pharmaceutical
BITIInverse Bitcoin futures1.98%140K$68M76%NANANA0.26Passive, currency
HCAL1.25X Solactive Canadian Bank Mean Reversion1.06%61K$350M-19.3%27.5%NANA0.16Passive, financial

The data in this table was collected between July 10, 2022 and July 17, 2022.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an Exchange-Traded Fund (ETF)?

An ETF, just like a mutual fund, is an investment vehicle committed to executing a particular investment strategy with the difference that investors can trade their share in the ETF with each other (on an exchange) and thus achieve greater liquidity. Whether you use a mutual fund or an ETF, an institution is engaged in executing your investment strategy of choice. This institution would charge you a management fee for its service.

The most valuable possession for most of us is our labour. In other words, our ability to work and earn an income is our greatest asset. But the payout from our labour is concentrated in the middle years of life. More generally, our income and our expenses do not match. To resolve this mismatch, we need to save and periodically move some money from our chequing account into our savings account.

The future is uncertain compared to now, so generally, humans prefer to consume what they have now rather than the future. If we want someone to save in the hope of future consumption, we need to offer them more significant consumables in the future compared with what they have now. This is the origin of interest rates in finance.

The problem with saving is that the interest earned on savings is influenced by the Central bank, whose actions resulted in negative real rates of interest over the past 15 years. In other words, the money you have saved would earn less interest than it loses purchasing power to inflation.

As a result, you are almost forced to move your savings into investments if you want to receive any payout or reward for postponing consumption. To perform an investment, you need an investment strategy. Your investment strategy can be as simple as buying a successful corporation's stock to have a share in the income and growth of that company. Such a simple investment strategy might work great but is quite risky as unexpected changes in the circumstance can create difficulties for any corporation and ruin your investment. According to finance theory, you must diversify your investments to reduce risks.

Executing the diversification strategy, like many other investment strategies, is impractical with small investments. Their execution requires economies of scale and thus significant investments. Mutual funds were created to resolve this issue by pooling many investors' money and making an investment vehicle large enough to execute various investment strategies successfully and economically.

Mutual funds are investment vehicles that each investor can inject or withdraw their money whenever they choose. Each mutual fund is committed to executing a specific investment strategy on behalf of its investors. The practical mechanism involved in withdrawing money imposes some limitations on mutual funds' liquidity. A successful innovation created Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) to solve this problem.

How are ETF Prices determined?

ETFs have two sets of prices: market price and net asset value (NAV).

Market Price

ETFs are bought and sold on exchanges at the market price. The market price can change throughout the trading day. Factors like supply, demand, and changes in the value of an ETF’s investments can affect the market price.

You can get price quotes any time during the trading day. Quotes have two parts: bid and ask. The bid is the highest price a buyer will pay if you want to sell your ETF units. The ask is the lowest price a seller is willing to accept if you wish to buy ETF units. The difference between the two is called the “bid-ask spread.” In general, a smaller bid-ask spread means the ETF is more liquid.

Net Asset Value (NAV)

Like mutual funds, ETFs have a NAV. ETF NAV is calculated after the close of each trading day and reflects the value of an ETF’s investments. NAV is used to calculate financial information for reporting purposes.

What is S&P Global?

S&P Global is a publicly-traded company formerly called McGraw Hill Financial Inc. Its subsidiaries publish research on various financial assets and provide credit ratings. Assets on which S&P publishes research and analysis include stocks, bonds and commodities. It is headquartered in New York. S&P Global has a joint venture with the CME Group and News Corp called S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC.

S&P Dow Jones Indices produces and maintains stock market indices as benchmarks. This company's most famous indices are the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA). It has designed S&P/TSX 60 Index to represent leading companies in leading industries whose shares are trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

What is BlackRock?

BlackRock is the world's largest asset management corporation. At the beginning of 2022, it had $10 trillion in assets under management (AUM). It was founded in 1988 and is headquartered in New York. It started in risk management and fixed income; it is currently active in all investment and asset management areas. BlackRock uses iShares as the trade-mark introducing its ETF products. This page covers some ETFs created and managed by BlackRock Asset Management Canada Limited, the Canadian subsidiary of BlackRock.

What is Solactive?

Solactive is a German company providing and maintaining financial indices since 2007.

What is BMO Global Asset Management?

BMO Global Asset Management, which manages BMO ETFs, comprises BMO Asset Management and BMO Investments and is a subsidiary of the Bank of Montreal. Bank of Montreal is a large bank in North America which has not missed a single dividend payment since 1829.

What is Horizons ETF Management (Canada) Inc?

Horizons is the fourth-largest ETF provider in Canada. It was called BetaPro Management Inc and was a subsidiary of Jovian Capital Corp. In 2011 Jovian sold BetaPro to Mirae Asset Global Investment, based in Seoul.

What is The Vanguard Group?

Vanguard is an investment advice and management service provider based in Malvern, Pennsylvania. It is the largest mutual fund provider and the world's second-largest ETF provider. Vanguard also offers brokerage services and annuities.

It's Canadian subsidiary Vanguard Investments Canada offers various investment products to Canadians, including Vanguard ETFs.

What are the tax implications of buying ETFs?

ETFs are treated as stocks for tax purposes. Dividends are added to your income for tax purposes, and one incurs capital gains or losses when ETF units are sold. This is unlike mutual funds, where trades done by the fund would have tax implications for you. You can buy your ETF or other investment under a tax shelter to avoid paying tax on your gains. For example, Tax-Free Savings Account, Tax-Free First Home Savings Account and Registered Education Savings Plan are tax sheltered.

How transparent are ETFs?

ETFs publish their assets every day. Thus, they are far more transparent than other investment pools, which might publish their assets every month or quarter.

How to invest in ETFs?

To invest in an ETF, you would buy units of that ETF. The mechanism for buying units of an ETF is the same as the mechanism of buying stocks in Canada.

What does FTSE stand for?

FTSE (pronounced footsie) stands for Financial Times Stock Exchange. It is a brand for indexes used by FTSE Russell's solutions. FTSE Russell's solutions also own the Russel brand for indexes and is a London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) subsidiary.

The calculators and content on this page are provided for general information purposes only. WOWA does not guarantee the accuracy of information shown and is not responsible for any consequences of the use of the calculator.