Canadian Online Discount Broker – Scotia iTrade

Canadian Discount Brokerage - Scotia iTrade

Contact Information

Phone: 1-888-872-3388




48 Yonge Street
Toronto, ON M5E 1G6

Customer Service Hours of Operation:
Mon to Fri 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET

Scotia iTrade – Review of Pricing

(updated April 15/14)

Scotia iTrade has been a growing presence in the Canadian online discount broker arena after acquiring both Tradefreedom and E*trade Financial’s Canadian division – two brokers that were aimed at active investing and trading.  Scotia iTrade’s parent firm is Scotia Capital Inc and is a subsidiary of the well-known Canadian bank Scotiabank.

Similar to other bank-owned Canadian online discount brokerages, Scotia iTrade offers lots of products to invest in, including stocks, options, ETFs, bonds, mutual funds and precious metals.  Trading can be done in registered accounts such as tax-free savings accounts (TFSAs), registered retirement savings plans (RRSPs) and registered education savings plans (RESPs) or outside of registered accounts, in either cash or margin accounts.  To be able to “short” a stock or to trade advanced options strategies, individuals require a margin trading account specifically designated for options and/or shorting and those margin accounts usually have higher funding requirements (i.e. you need more capital to keep it open) than their cash accounts.

The pricing structure for Scotia iTrade is complex compared to some other Canadian discount brokers, and what you pay is determined by how frequently you trade or by how much you have in assets across iTrade accounts.

Frequent/active traders (those who place 150+ trades per quarter) who are also signed up for paperless documentation can expect to pay the best rate of $4.99 per trade (not signing up for paperless documentation means that you pay $6.99 per trade for 150+ trades per quarter.

Those who make more than 30 trades but less than 150 trades per quarter can expect to pay $9.99 per trade.  If you have more than $50 000 in combined assets across iTrade accounts, you also qualify for the $9.99 commission level.

For infrequent traders (those who execute less than 30 trades a quarter) who have less than $50 000 in assets across iTrade accounts, you can expect to pay a minimum of $24.99 commission per trade as long as your order is 1000 shares or less.  If you wish to purchase more than 1000 shares (and you’re trading less than 30 trades a quarter), the fee changes to $0.03 per share – meaning the upper limit on what you pay for a commission on a trade can be quite high depending on the order size. Also to be on the lookout for are the fees you pay if you wish to trade US stocks from your Canadian account as there are conversion fees that you’ll have to account for when placing these types of trades. A silver lining to the pricing maze is the commission-free trading of certain ETFs which we’ve provided more information on in a link to below.

The bottom line

If you don’t have $50 000 in assets and even if you do, you may not receive the best commission tier available. To get the best rate, you have to trade – a lot.  Having an iTrade account puts you on a fee treadmill of sorts – you have to make trades in order to keep commission costs low. In fact if your account has less than $10 000 in it and you don’t trade once in the quarter you get charged an inactivity fee of $25 per quarter.  When looking at Scotia iTrade be sure to understand your likely trading activity and your assets available to invest.

Account Types OfferedFunding Requirements and FeesRegistered Account Types and Fees
TFSAMinimum Opening BalanceNot RequiredTFSAAnnual Charge$0
RRSPMinimum Account BalanceNot RequiredTransfer Out$150
RESPMinimum Balance for Best or Discounted CommissionNot RequiredWithdrawals$0
CashMinimum Commission per Equity Trade$4.99US Dollar Account
Margin ShortMaximum Commission per Equity Trade$9.99RRSPAnnual Charge$100* 1
Margin OptionsMinimum Trades per Quarter for Best Commission Rate150Transfer Out$150
CIPF MemberInactivity or Maintenance Fees$25/quarterUS Dollar Account
Conditions for Inactivity/Maintenance FeesInactivity fee applies if no trades are made in the quarter AND account balance is less than $10,000RESPAnnual Charge$100* 1
Transfer Out$150
US Dollar Account$120/Year
Last updated: Feb. 9. 2018
Notes:1. Registered account fee waived if aggregate accounts (registered and unregistered) $25,00 and over or 12 commissionable trades or more per year

Scotia iTrade Website Links:

Here are some useful links to important information on Scotia iTrade’s website.

Discount Broker Customer Survey Ratings by J.D. Power:
Link to 2013 online broker ratings by the Globe and Mail:

More Online Broker Profiles

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Home Community Canadian Online Brokerage Review – Scotia iTrade

This topic contains 19 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Brock 2 months, 1 week ago.

Viewing 10 posts - 1 through 10 (of 20 total)
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  • #28270 Reply


    Cons: Terrible customer service, no multi-leg option order via web, no information on past & upcoming earnings, analyst report updates not populated properly (poor programming), terrible looking interface.

    Pros: CFRA quant reports, free limited Level 2 data.

    #25523 Reply

    vahid hesmi

    I have an stock account and the service they provide is so poor and bad , especially the credit deportment person is so rude and angry , so funny they made a lot of interest money out of my account and they are angry , so disappointing and unacceptable , I recommend everyone stay away from scotia I trade because they make you to loose money.

    #25507 Reply


    Worst in the business for Itrade customer service.
    I called for 3 days twice hung up after 15-20 minutes of wait.
    Once got through after 17 minutes.

    Will be moving to a different brokerage

    #25220 Reply


    Don’t really care for their commission structure and the requirement that if your portfolio goes under 50k, commission rates go up from 9.99 to 24.99 .. Discourages any one to trade and try to build it back up..

    I have an account stuck there in that situation.. Needless to say, my trading there has stopped for now.. I may just move my account back to my other broker.. Any request for temporary adjustment, say for 6 months + or so is denied.. In other words, they don’t particularly care whether you stay with them or not..

    As far as I know, 50k threshold for 9.99 commission is only at Scotia.. None of the other Bank Brokers have that.. Mind you, I may be wrong since I have not checked lately..

    #24630 Reply


    I was with TradeFreedom which transitioned to Scotia iTrade after it was bought by Scotia Bank. Commissions increased from $10 to $20 then $25 over a few short years (I don’t have enough assets or make enough trades to qualify for the discounted rate). That was more than annoying, but I carried on. A few years ago Scotia iTrade also introduced “low activity fees”. Basically, if you don’t make a trade every quarter you get charged $25. I didn’t (and still don’t) trade very quarter. I wasn’t happy with that policy. At that point I called Scotia iTrade to look at my options. They suggested I move everything under a TSFA umbrella (transferring to an outside financial institution costs $150). As advised, I moved everything to a TSFA account. I forgot about this account because I didn’t want to pay their high interest rates by trading using their platform through them. Fast forward about a year and a half later when I try to log into my account and couldn’t. The website wouldn’t allow me to automatically reset my password. I kept putting off calling their customer service or hung up after getting frustrated with waiting to get through to someone (on average it takes more than 45 minutes to speak to a person). Finally, after about 2 years since last logging in, I reached through to customer service and got them to reset my password. It turns out that my account was frozen because they sent me a letter that bounced back to them. After accessing my account I realized that $60 per quarter had been withdrawn for “Low Activity Account/Unclaimed”. I was dumbstruck. To make things worse they twice sold shares to pay off the negative balance that had accrued as a result of the $60 inactivity fee. Each time they sold shares they charged me $85 in additional fees (~$60 for a broker to evaluate the sale and $25 for their trading fees). In total, I lost ~$600 because of their lack of attempts to reach me and their poor customer service. I had to call 3 times (each time waiting 45+ minutes to talk to a human and then being put on hold multiple times) before I could finally reach a manager who was willing to hear my case. They refused to reimburse me at first, but reluctantly gave me a pitiful fraction of the money I had lost after some tense arguing. It gets better (i.e., worse), after I filed a request with Questrade to transfer shares out of Scotia iTrade (because there was no way I was going to keep even a cent with them), Scotia iTrade blocked my request. The reason? My Scotia iTrade account had yet to be fully re-instated/claimed (their mistake again). They finally corrected the problem and I had to make a new request to have the funds transferred. More delays, more time wasted. My experience with Scotia iTrade was an absolute nightmare.
    There is no question that I will not deal with Scotia iTrade ever again, but this experience has left me so bitter that I will never, ever do business with ScotiaBank as well.

    #24016 Reply

    Robert Massey

    Tried all day to subscribe to the flight desk with no success..not much help from customer service although they acknowledge a problem and they have escalated the matter to another support group whoever they are..not much hope for a quick response

    #23163 Reply


    The trailing stop losses are not working properly.
    Don’t know for how long.
    The price went up and down several times through stop for MTUM etf, and nothing.
    First customer service rep. told me I don’t know how a trailing stop works.
    After re-reading their Stop loss pdf, called again.
    The second C.S.Rep. told me they have stop-loss issues with some ETFs.
    I suspected several trades before but…they were small positions.
    today I had a single 100.000 cad position
    it was like strait into my face.
    I had to cancel the stop and sell at the market.

    #22854 Reply

    Gary McLean

    I have an iTrade account. I wanted to speak to someone today about my account. I have been waiting ON HOLD FOR OVER AN HOUR. And I’m still waiting.
    Take your money and go elsewhere. Their so-called “customer service” is disgusting.

    #22765 Reply

    Alexei Polkhanov

    Absolutely worth service in entire world! They will NEVER answer your phone.

    #22634 Reply


    RBC has the lowest commission out of all the banks. $9.95 per trade without any minimums. $25/trade is ridiculous!

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