Best Canadian ETFs

ETF Name Ticker MER% Number of Holdings Asset Class
Vanguard Balanced ETF Portfolio VBAL 0.24% 13,644 Asset Allocation
Vanguard Growth ETF Portfolio VGRO 0.24% 13,644 Asset Allocation
Vanguard Retirement Income ETF Portfolio VRIF 0.32% 13,139 Asset Allocation
BMO Low Volatility Canadian Equity ETF ZLB 1.45% 49 Canadian equities
BMO Global Infrastructure Index ETF ZGI 0.61% 48 Global Infrastructure Equity
BMO Canadian Dividend ETF TDOC 0.38% 147 Sector Equity
TD Global Healthcare Leaders Index ETF ZDV 0.39% 53 Canadian Dividend & Income Equity
TD Select Short Term Corp Bond Ladder ETF TCSB 0.28% 85 Canadian Short Term Fixed Income
TD Q International Low Volatility ETF TILV 0.40% 158 International Equity
TD Active Global Enhanced Dividend ETF TGET 0.72% 65 Global Equity

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Vanguard Balanced ETF Portfolio (VBAL)

The Vanguard Balanced ETF is one of the best options for those seeking a long-term hold that want help during market uncertainty. The portfolio consists of a balanced ratio of 60% equities and 40% bonds.

The moderate risk profile attracts Canadians to the portfolio, said Sal D'Angelo, Head of Product for Vanguard Americas.

"The mix between stocks and bonds drives 90% of the variability of a portfolio," D'Angelo said. "That's going to drive your experience. That's going to determine your success."

Vanguard Growth ETF Portfolio (VGRO)

The name should give investors a clue to what they're getting from the Vanguard Growth ETF. This ETF has more equity exposure, with 80% stocks and 20% bonds.

It comes with more risk, but it provides more long-term growth exposure, D'Angelo said.

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Vanguard Retirement Income ETF Portfolio

For those already in or reaching retirement, the Vanguard Retirement Income ETF might be an excellent option.

This ETF is tailored for Canadians seeking income. While it mainly invests in Canada, it also has global exposure. And that's particularly important during an economic downturn.

"There are so many factors investors can't control," said D'Angelo. "The best strategies are focusing on the factors you can control."

BMO Low Volatility Canadian Equity ETF

Low volatility is natural to look for during a volatile market. And that's why another top — and particularly timely — recommendation is the BMO Low Volatility Canadian Equity ETF.

Here you get access to the Canadian blue-chip companies with relatively stable performance.

"In the equity markets there's not a lot of places to hide," said Erin Allen, Vice-President of Online ETF Distribution for BMO Global Asset Management. "But if you take a lower volatility approach to investing, you're going to mitigate that volatility and have a better experience as an investor."

BMO Global Infrastructure Index ETF

Infrastructure is a strong option for those wanting stability but also growth right now. This is an alternative asset class where infrastructure basically keeps the economy running, Allen said.

What's more, you can invest in it around the world, providing investors with global diversification.

"It's fundamental to keep our economy running. Bridges, tunnels, sewers, all of which have longer-term contracts," Allen said. "So again, another defensive play."

BMO Canadian Dividend ETF

Now is a time when many Canadians want income that can supplement the losses while they wait for the market to recover. And that's why the BMO Canadian Dividend ETF can be such a strong choice. You'll continue to see that money coming in at a yield currently of 4.15% at the time of writing. So you're now getting paid to wait.

"You're seeing money coming in even if those underlying stocks aren't growing as expected," said Allen.

TD Global Healthcare Leaders Index ETF

One area that's proven to be a strong performer over the last few years has been the healthcare industry. And of course, it's clear why. Investors are now aware of some of the largest healthcare institutions and are investing in them. But given their essential service, they've proven somewhat recession-proof, said Jonathan Needham, Vice President & Director of ETF Distribution at TD Asset Management.

"Healthcare has been the second-best performing sector after technology," he said.

TD Select Short Term Corp Bond Ladder ETF

Right now, bonds aren't doing well. But this does make it a great time to buy up bonds for long-term income. You can look into TCSB using a low cost trading platform today.

And with the shorter duration bond strategy actively managed, you can buy corporate bonds that are down 14% to 15% and lock in yields of 6% and 8%, Needham said.

TD Q International Low Volatility ETF

Having an international low volatility ETF can be incredibly beneficial during turbulent times.

"It's the children's rollercoaster ride rather than the adult ones my daughter likes to go on," said Neeham. "Much less turning of the stomach."

TD Active Global Enhanced Dividend ETF

Same as before, it's also a great idea to get into a global dividend payer. For the same reasons as before, but now you have access to international companies and their strong dividend payments rather than just Canada.

"A lot of Canadians are trying to solve the problem that they want income, but not giving up growth," Neeham said. "This is running in an active way to ensure dividends are still paid."

Final Thoughts

Now is not the time to panic. It's not the time to sell everything and have to eat up that loss.

Instead, talk to your financial advisor about your goals, and whether these ETFs could fit within them.

"Do your due diligence and make sure you're understanding the exposure that you're investing in," said Allen. "There's a lot of information for investors to go through so they can build that underlying portfolio that meets their expectations."

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About the Author

Amy Legate-Wolfe

Amy Legate-Wolfe

Freelance Contributor

Amy Legate-Wolfe is an investment junkie, who aims to help others get hooked by providing well-researched advice. After receiving a masters in journalism from Western University, Amy worked for Huff Post and, while freelancing for organizations such as the CBC, Motley Fool Canada and Financial Post. Amy Legate-Wolfe is an experienced personal finance writer and freelance contributor working with

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