Binary Options Trading in Canada
Canada is a bi-lingual country whose currency, the Canadian Dollar (CAD or Loonie) is one of the major currencies traded in the financial markets. In terms of financial market regulation, Canada is unique in the sense that it has a central regulator as well as thirteen provincial regulators. These provincial regulators collectively make up the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA).
It would be very logical to think that the proximity of Canada to the United States, where financial market activity is buzzing, would influence Canada to tow the same lines as its Southern neighbor in terms of financial market regulation. However, Canada seems to have very different ideas when it comes to how its financial markets are run.
Canada is marked by an absence of locally based binary options brokers. With a total absence of binary options brokers in Canada, most Canadian traders who participate in binary options are forced to trade with offshore brokers in Cyprus, the UK and until recently Israel.
While the central regulator has said very little for or against the trading of binary options in Canada, the provincial regulators have been more vocal and are advocating for a complete prohibition of all marketing activity of binary options by offshore binary options brokers as well as the banning of binary options trading within Canada.
Currency Pairs & Spread
Since most Canadian binary options traders ply their trade with offshore brokers, they usually trade currency pairs that are found on most of these platforms. Offshore brokers tend to offer lots of currency pairs, and the Canadian Dollar is well represented across these platforms. The CAD is commonly paired with the US Dollar, Japanese Yen, Australian Dollar and Euro.
A majority of offshore platforms are of the turnkey variety, where payouts are determined on the relationship between the expiry price of the asset and the entry price of the binary option. The bid and ask prices of the CAD-linked assets are not usually displayed, but Call trades are executed with the ask prices and Put trades with the bid prices. Traders need to be aware of this and it is advised that they monitor all trades using charts from forex platforms which display these prices.
The bulk of binary options brokers that are used by Canadian binary options traders are located in Cyprus and other jurisdictions of lesser repute such as Seychelles, Vanuatu, St. Vincent and the Grenadines as well as Mauritius. The brokerages found in these areas are mostly brokerages that opt to reduce setup costs by adopting turnkey platforms developed by companies such as SpotOption, Tech Financials, Tradologic, Hello Binary and O-Systems. These are the platforms that most Canadian binary options traders will encounter.
Canadian traders can expect to be issued bonuses when using binary options brokers located in jurisdictions such as Mauritius, Seychelles, St.Vincent & Grenadines, Vanuatu and Belize. The Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC) recently followed the examples of the FFAJ in Japan and ASIC in Australia to ban the use of bonuses as an incentive for account opening and funding by brokers. While compliance is not yet at 100%, we can expect more brokers in Cyprus to stop offering bonuses to Canadian binary options traders.
Deposit and Withdrawal options
What deposits and withdrawal are available to binary options traders in Canada? Several brokers provide different channels for deposits and withdrawals. Therefore, not all the methods listed below will be applicable to Canadian binary options traders.
- Cards: The only cards that can be used by binary options traders in Canada are those issued by MasterCard and VISA. Deposits are processed instantly, but withdrawals may take up to 24 hours. Canadian binary options traders should ensure they use only brokers that do not perform arbitrary draws on their card accounts, as there have been cases of fraudulent withdrawals on card accounts from some unscrupulous binary options brokers.
- Bank wires from domiciliary accounts are a method universally available to binary options traders in Canada.
- Digital wallets such as Skrill and Neteller are not usually available to Canadian citizens. However, other wallets such as WebMoney are available to Canadian binary options traders.
Legality & Regulations
From a legal standpoint, what view do Canadian financial market regulators have about the trading of binary options in Canada?
There are no licensed binary options brokers in Canada. The dearth of Canadian binary options brokers is directly linked to the view of the thirteen regulators that make up the CSA. The CSA view binary options as a form of gambling and in some instances, an outright scam designed to steal credit card information of customers.
“The CSA is so serious about ensuring that binary options are never traded by Canadian citizens that it has launched a task force, headed by Jason Roy, to go after fraudulent offshore binary options brokers. This action was triggered by the recent suicide of a Canadian citizen, who was said to have lost a large amount of money to an unlicensed and unregistered offshore broker.”
The CSA has launched two websites in an attempt to protect local traders. However, the CSA’s actions are considered as being too sweeping, without due considerations for binary options brokers that are properly licensed and regulated in many jurisdictions around the world.
Here are the frequently asked questions that most Canadians have about the conduct of binary options in Canada.
- Are binary options legal in Canada?
Answer: The trading of binary options is considered illegal in Canada.
- Is it safe to trade binary options in Canada?
Answer: Canada does not have any locally licensed binary options brokers. Therefore, all binary options trading is conducted with offshore binary options brokers. This potentially opens the trader to potential scams by unregulated firms. In order to protect the investment, Canadian binary options traders are urged to trade only with firms that are properly licensed and regulated.
- As a Canadian citizen, am I allowed to trade binary options with offshore brokers?
Answer: While the CSA does not endorse binary options trading with offshore brokers, there has been no specific legislation passed to prohibit binary options trading as is the case in countries such as Israel, Turkey and Belgium.
- Can Canadian binary options traders trade binary options in the US?
Answer: The major binary options exchanges in the US offer their products to only US citizens and residents. Therefore, Canadian binary options traders are presently unable to trade binary options in the US.
- Are Canadian binary options traders allowed to use digital wallets?
Answer: Only selected digital wallets such as that of WebMoney allow Canadian clients on their network.
- Are there any resources to enable Canadian binary options traders check on the licensing status of offshore brokers they want to use?
Answer: Canadian binary options traders can check on Aretheyregistered.ca, or they can visit the websites of the well-known, globally renowned regulators such as CySEC, FFAJ/JFSA, ASIC, MFSA and FCA to check on the licensing status of any binary options brokers that have reached out to them.
Best Binary Options Brokers in Canada
As described earlier, there is no binary options broker with a physical presence in the country. All binary options trading activity is performed with offshore brokers, most of whom are based in Europe. The top binary options brokers for Canadian citizens are as follows:
Canadian binary options traders walk a very thin line when it comes to binary options trading. This is because the regulators in Canada consider binary options as illegal activity. The issue here is not that binary options is inherently bad, but rather that many unlicensed and unregulated offshore brokers are giving the industry a very bad name. Many Canadian binary options traders have fallen victim to some of these scams. The challenge therefore is for Canadian binary options traders to understand how to locate genuine brokers to protect their investments.
With the setting up of the task force by the CSA, one wonders if it is only a matter of time before the Canadian government passes legislation to make it illegitimate for Canadian citizens to conduct binary options trading.