Are Binary Options Legal in Canada?

Please Note: This article is out of date and the legal situation in Canada may have changed.  We hope to revisit and update this article shortly with more current information.

The binary options market is growing rapidly in Canada, as more traders get familiar with the simplicity and potential for profitability of the trades. Canadians especially enjoy how they can trade online, and have access to a wide range of brokers offering appealing services.

As the Canadian market continues to expand, many investors have raised questions with regards to the legality and regulation of binary options within the country. Canada is known for having many financial authority bodies at the national and provincial levels that manage Canadian financial markets. However, at this time, there seems to be a gap of information when it comes to binary options. Although this may make some traders weary, the vast majority feel confident in going online to source the right information and learn ways to protect themselves and their investments. When it comes to binary options, there is no such thing as being too informed; for all traders, the more information, the better. As such, we have simplified your search efforts and combined all the related information for binary options in Canada within this article.

Legality

Binary options are legal in Canada as there are no laws stating otherwise. In this case, legal means that investors have a right to sign up with a brokerage firm and start trading options. There are no provincial differences at this time so traders from all corners of the country do not have to fear legal repercussions for getting involved in trading binary options.

Since the practice is legal, it has opened the doors for offshore brokers to offer services to Canadians. However, it is recommended that investors exercise a high degree of caution when deciding to invest following this method because legal does not mean regulated. As such, the industry lacks guidelines for brokers and this means that certified and illegal brokers alike are able to attract citizens of the country. To avoid being caught in an unfortunate scenario, Canadians are advised to perform due diligence on any broker they choose to conduct business with.

Regulations 

We have established that Canadians are free to trade binary options without any legal issues. Despite the fact that there are several securities regulatory bodies in the country, none have yet to establish regulations for binary options. They are, however, somewhat involved as they issue warnings to Canadians from time to time, about potentially fraudulent brokers. This is a great start but not necessarily enough to prevent Canadians from signing up with unlicensed brokers.

Although the lack of regulations may seem like a major negative element, it is actually very positive in the sense that Canadians have access to brokers from all over the world. Unlike other countries where regulations are very strict, Canadians are not limited in their choice of brokers.

Investors do not have to be concerned about signing up with an offshore broker, as long as it is registered with the proper authorities. There are many reputable and licensed brokers operating from countries such as Cyprus, the United Kingdom, and Australia that accept Canadians on their platforms.

Since no financial authority within Canada has established a list of reputable brokers, the responsibility of finding a legitimate firm falls on the investors’ shoulders. This makes the process of getting started somewhat more complex, but taking your time to do your research and finding an appropriate broker will pay off in the long-term.

Licensing

Since there are no regulations for binary options across Canada, there is also no licensing process in place, which leaves plenty of room for foreign brokers to compete against one another to attract Canadians.

Since safety is always a concern when it comes to investing hard-earned dollars, Canadians should know that the practice of trading binary options is completely safe when done with a licensed broker.  There have been instances in the past where some brokers have declared to be Canadian; traders should avoid any company that pretends to have a base of operations from Canada. Since the industry is unregulated, no broker can operate legitimately within Canada.

Instead, investors have to search for brokers who are licensed in their country of origin. For example, the United States have a handful of brokers who accept Canadian traders. Since the binary options market is highly protected in the US, traders may be better off seeking brokers located oversees. Many reputable European brokers cater to Canadians and offer the same services, offers, and bonuses that European investors have access to.

Governing bodies

Although Canadian financial governing bodies do not regulate binary options, they appear to be receptive to helping investors with any questions related to investments. For any questions, investors may contact their provincial authority, or refer to the national one.

Canadian Securities Administrators

The Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) is the umbrella agency for all of Canada’s provincial and territorial securities regulatory bodies. Its role is to improve, coordinate, and streamline the Canadian Capital markets.

The CSA is responsible for financial initiatives across Canada but leaves the management of complaints, as well as the enforcement of regulations to its provincial counterparts. According to CSA, this allows for closer monitoring of the financial markets and enables Canadians to get answers from a local authority rather than a national one that may not be aware of specific issues within the province.

The CSA’s mission is divided according to three principles. The first one pertains to the protection of consumers. The organization ensures full disclosure of public information as well as providing a wide range of educational tools to assist investors in making informed decisions. It also supervises market intermediaries. The second principle relates to the markets more specifically. The CSA works to ensure fair and transparent financial processes that are efficient. Any unfair trading practices can be reported to the agency for investigation.

The last principle details how the CSA works to lower systemic risk within capital markets.

Aside from the CSA, there are provincial bodies that are in charge of enforcing regulations within their own jurisdictions. Below you will find the names as well as website information for all agencies covered under CSA.

Alberta Securities Commission

British Columbia Securities

Manitoba Securities Commission

New Brunswick Financial and Consumer Services Commission

Newfoundland Office of the Superintendent of Securities

Northwest Territories Securities Office

Nova Scotia Securities Commission

Nunavut Securities Office

Ontario Securities Commission

Prince Edward Island Office of the Superintendent of Securities

Quebec Autorité des marches financiers

Financial and Consumer Affairs Authority of Saskatchewan

Yukon Office of the Superintendent of Securities

Broker selection

It has been established that Canadians who want to trade binary options will need to sign up with an offshore broker. Before you can start trading, you need to search for a trustworthy and reliable broker where you know your money will be safe. To simplify your search, narrow down your list of available brokers according to the following criteria.

1. Deposits and withdrawals

Make sure you know which currency is required for deposit as the exchange rate may not be worth it in some cases. Each broker has rules about deposits and withdrawals. Ideally, you want to find a broker that has minimal fees attached to these transactions.

2. Types of options offered

Most reputable brokers offer many types of binary options. While you may not be making use of all of them when you first start trading, you want to pick a broker that will allow you to grow your profits and diversify your strategies. Look for brokers who offer High/Low, One Touch, No Touch, Boundary, Rollover, Doubling Up, and more.

3. Website usability

Since you will be trading online using a broker’s platform, take advantage of the free demo accounts offered by many brokers to get a good sense of how a platform works. Find one that you are comfortable with, that appears user friendly, and offers educational tools.

4. Tools and resources

As a binary options trader, the more you learn, the better you will get at increasing your profits. Sign up with a broker that offers trading tools and other resources to its members. Having all the important information in one space will save you time and facilitate the learning curve.

5. Customer service

Lastly, since you will be doing business with an offshore broker, you have to ensure the quality of customer service. If you have a question or encounter a problem with the platform, you want to be able to speak with someone promptly. Many brokers offer phone or live chat options to respond quickly to any inquiries.

We recommend reading a reputable broker-review website tailored for Canadian investors, such as binaryoptionscanada.net.

Assets

The advantage of trading binary options is that Canadians have access to a variety of assets. While it is generally recommended to trade assets of your own country because they are the ones with the easiest access to information, it may be difficult for Canadians to follow this tip as many Canadian stocks, indices, and commodities are either not available at foreign brokers, or are not the best for a profitable strategy.

Other assets, such as ones from the United States, tend to have much higher liquidity and volume, which still makes it easy to find pertinent information to make sound trade decisions.

Most large brokerage firms located in Europe generally offer all of the most popular indices, stocks, commodities, and currencies.

Best practices for trading binary options

Trading binary options is relatively easy and the learning curve is not as steep as with other forms of investment. With that said, there are a few rules that should always be kept in mind when starting to trade.

The first rule pertains to how much money you decide to invest. Binary options often only require a small amount of capital to get started. However, as you learn the process and gain confidence in your trades, you may be tempted to risk higher amounts of money. If your budget allows it, this is perfectly fine. But if you are risking your hard-earned money on larger trades, you increase your potential for loss. Always evaluate how much you can afford to lose and never bet above that amount.

The second rule should be applied before your first trade happens and relates to choosing the right broker. This is information that seems to surface often but that is because it is crucial to your success as a binary options investor. If you choose the right broker, you have the potential to create lifelong profits. However, if you choose a broker that does not have safe and transparent practices, you risk losing money and you potentially put your personal and financial data at risk. If you are struggling to determine which broker is right for you on your own, you may consult with other traders and visit online forums for assistance.

The third rule concerns bonus offers offered by most brokerage firms. Licensed brokers have to operate according to certain principles but they have leeway when it comes to the type of bonus offers they promote to attract potential customers. While bonus offers are a legitimate tactic to attract investors, many have restrictions and other conditions that apply. Before choosing a broker based on a bonus offer, read the fine print and the terms of agreement to know exactly what you are getting into. If an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Consider the pros and cons of a bonus offer since sometimes, a large bonus with many restrictions is not worth as much as a smaller bonus with easier access.

Remember that trading binary options is a process that ebbs and flows. If you make a mistake, take it as a learning opportunity. Improve your skills and most importantly, never stop learning.

Future of binary options

It is still unclear at this time whether the Canadian financial regulators will decide to set guidelines and start regulating the binary options industry. The CSA is definitely showing interest by keeping an eye on possible fraudulent brokers but it has not stated that it intends to regulate the industry in the near future. However, if more Canadians get involved and binary options’ trading continues on its growing trend, it may give the necessary push financial regulators need to establish guidelines. In the meantime, Canadians are fortunate to be able to access offshore brokers who are reputable and offer many services pertinent to investors from Canada.