My Canadian grandpa fancies avoiding withholding taxes. I quote Moneysense:

Another advantage of U.S.-listed ETFs is that they may be more tax-efficient in RRSPs. A full explanation is complicated, but the main idea is that U.S. and international stocks are subject to a withholding tax on dividends. If you hold U.S. or international stocks using a Canadian-listed ETF, these withholding taxes are lost in an RRSP. However, U.S. securities held in an RRSP are exempt from withholding taxes, thanks to a tax treaty between the two countries. So if you use U.S.-listed ETFs for your foreign equities in an RRSP you may be able to reduce or eliminate this tax drag.

It's impractical to check the listing stock exchange for each holding in an ETF. E.g., how can he clinch forthwith if these ETFs contains stocks listed in US or international stock exchanges?

iShares Core MSCI EAFE IMI Index ETF (XEF)


Vanguard's FTSE Developed All Cap ex North America Index ETF (VIU).

These track corporations in developed countries outside NA, yet one corporation can list itself on different stock exchanges. So how can I effortlessly clinch which version the ETF has?

1 Answer 1


No need to check each stock within an ETF. Check where ETF is traded and read the description to determine geographic origin of the stocks it holds.

For example VIU is traded in Canada, holds foreign stock = withholding tax.

XEF - same.

VWO trades in the US, holds emerging markets. If you hold VWO in an RRSP then you avoid American taxes, but you are still paying withholding taxes in the country of origin.

If you hold VTI (US stock, US traded ETF) then there is no withholding tax in an RRSP.

And ETFs don’t tend hold cross-listed stock. VIU does not hold stocks listed on TSX

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