There are a number of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that offer investors exposure to Canadian stocks. Three of the top ETFs that are available are the iShares MSCI Canada ETF, the First Trust Canada AlphaDEX Fund, and the IQ Canada Small-Cap ETF.

Though investing in equities primarily listed on foreign exchanges is usually problematic for U.S. investors, ETFs allow much easier access to investing in foreign countries, including Canada.

Natural resources are the first area of consideration when investors talk of Canada. This is a logical mindset, as some of the most basic commodities coming from the country are grains, energy, base and precious metals, and timber.

Canada has a solid workforce and an abundance of natural resources that pad its economy's revenue. Canada may have progressed to the point of being more financially sound than the United States. Canadian banks largely avoided the financial mess that other global banks have incurred over the past few years, so they remain strong and provide excellent investment opportunities.

The Canadian stock market is growing, and ETFs within the country are experiencing a boom. Though U.S.-listed ETFs with a Canadian focus have only recently begun to come onto the market, a few natural resource and small-cap funds have already started making names for themselves. The list of Canadian-based ETFs is expected to continue growing, and to become a more rounded-out and include a more comprehensive set of sectors in the future.

iShares MSCI Canada ETF

The iShares MSCI Canada ETF (EWC) is likely to appeal to investors looking for exposure to a broad base of large and mid-sized Canadian companies. The fund seeks to provide investors with results that correspond to the price and yield performance of the MSCI Canada Index. This underlying index is composed of stocks that primarily trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX). The index is weighted by capitalization, aiming to represent 85% of the total market TSX capitalization.

This fund has a moderate risk level and three-year average returns of 2.11%. The expense ratio for the fund is 0.48%, and the dividend yield is 2.29%.

Issued by BlackRock, this fund has assets that total just under $2.3 billion. Primary holdings for the fund include the Royal Bank of Canada (RY), the Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD) and the Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS).

First Trust Canada AlphaDEX Fund

The First Trust Canada AlphaDEX Fund (FCAN) is likely to appeal to investors looking for exposure to the Canadian market using ETFs that utilize the AlphaDEX method of stock selection and having equal-dollar weighting among the fund's holdings. The fund offers investors results that generally reflect the price and yield performance of the Defined Canada Index. This underlying index is an equity index that is equal-dollar weighted, and it utilizes the AlphaDEX method of stock selection to identify securities from the S&P Canada BMI that can potentially generate positive alpha in relation to more traditional and passive indexes.

This fund has a medium level of risk with moderate levels of return. The expense ratio for this fund is 0.8%, and the dividend yield is 2.21%.

Issued by First Trust, the total assets for the FCAN fund are nearly $11.5 million. Top holdings for the fund include Baytex Energy (BTE), which specializes in oil and natural gas production and sales, Metro Inc. (MRU), one of the country’s leading food retailers, and Air Canada (TSE: AC.B).

IQ Canada Small-Cap ETF

The IQ Canada Small-Cap ETF (CNDA) is likely to appeal to investors interested in small-cap Canadian companies with above-average growth potential. The fund seeks to follow and align with the IQ Canada Small Cap Index. This underlying index is market cap-weighted and provides investors with the ability to track the overall performance of small-cap Canadian companies.

The risk level for this fund is average. It is rated as offering moderate-to-high returns. The fund’s expense ratio is 0.69%, and the dividend yield is 1.09%.

Issued by IndexIQ, the IQ Canada fund's top holdings fund include Veresen Inc. (VSN), a major energy company, Element Financial Corporation (EFN) and CAE Inc. (CAE), a technology manufacturer.

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