The ideal broker is one that offers cheap, instantaneous online execution.
I am based in the UK, and the dearth of such brokers is frankly appalling. Most brokers don't deal in Canadian shares. Here are some that do: TD Waterhouse, Selftrade, Barclays International Trader.
I also have accounts with Swissquote and Questrade. The difference between these two and the above three is like between night and day. If I place an order designed to fill immediately, at Swissquote and Questrade the order is filled within a second or two. With the above three you can go into a black hole of ten, twenty, thirty minutes or more. It's like the dark ages. I have lost so much money over the last year through being deterred from trading my ISA with these clowns.
I think it's tricky to open a Questrade account if you are not based in Canada, but there are no such hurdles with Swissquote. Obviously they are covered by their domestic account insurance regimes rather than the UK's.
Can people recommend any other (non-US based) brokers offering cheap, instantaneous online execution of Canadian shares?
If you know of any which are UK based and do ISAs, pray tell!