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The 25 Best Canadian Dividend Stocks for U.S. Investors

Will Ashworth, Contributing Writer, Kiplinger.com

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The U.S. is home to literally thousands of dividend payers, which would seem to eliminate the need to look elsewhere for income. But there's a convincing case to be made for at least a couple dozen Canadian dividend stocks.

Newer income investors often look for the highest-yielding dividend stocks. They see a 7% yield as being better than 6%, 8% yields superior to 7%, and so on. But that's a much riskier proposition than it seems; sometimes, high yields are indicative of a troubled stock or company.

A safer approach is selecting companies with more reasonable current yields that consistently grow their payouts over time. Here in America, many investors look to the Dividend Aristocrats - a group of 57 dividend stocks in the S&P 500 that have improved their annual payouts for at least 25 consecutive years. But America isn't the only part of the world with Aristocrats. Canada, for instance, has 82.

The Canadian Aristocrats' standards aren't as stringent as those of their U.S. counterpart. To qualify for the Canadian Dividend Aristocrats, a stock must be listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange, be a member of the S&P Canada BMI (Broad Market Index), increase its annual payout for at least five consecutive years (it can maintain the same dividend for two consecutive years) and have a float-adjusted market cap of at least C$300 million.

We've trimmed down that list to 25 Canadian dividend stocks that are best suited for American investors. The following 25 Canadian Dividend Aristocrats trade on either the New York Stock Exchange or Nasdaq, and have increased their dividends annually for at least seven years.

SEE ALSO: 20 Dividend Stocks to Fund 20 Years of Retirement

Algonquin Power & Utilities

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Market value: $6.6 billion

Dividend yield: 4.2%  

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 8

Analysts' opinion: 8 Buy, 0 Overweight, 4 Hold, 0 Underweight, 0 Sell

Algonquin Power & Utilities (AQN, $13.40) is a Canadian utility company with more than 70 power generation facilities in the U.S. and Canada, serving almost 800,000 customers in three provinces and 13 states, including Illinois, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Minnesota.

AQN is in the midst of a five-year, $7.5 billion capital plan that will see it invest between $1.5 billion and $1.7 billion in 2019 on projects across North America, including a three-farm, 600-megawatt wind generation project in the U.S. Midwest.

Algonquin last raised its quarterly dividend by 10% to 14.1 cents per share for its July payment.

SEE ALSO: All 30 Dow Stocks Ranked: The Analysts Weigh In

Bank of Nova Scotia

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Market value: $70.8 billion

Dividend yield: 4.8%

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 9

Analysts' opinion: 2 Buy, 1 Overweight, 0 Hold, 0 Underweight, 0 Sell

Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS, $57.98) is one of Canada's "Big Five" banks, serving more than 25 million customers in North America, Latin America, the Caribbean, Central America and Asia-Pacific.

BNS has gone on a buying binge over the past 18 months, spending almost C$7 billion on acquisitions both in Canada and Latin America. As a result of these acquisitions, the bank announced in May that it would create a Global Wealth Management division, effective Nov. 1, to incorporate some of the purchases: MD Financial Management and Jarislowsky Fraser, two of Canada's most prominent investment managers.

Bank of Nova Scotia's fiscal third-quarter earnings were buoyed by strong results in both its Canadian and international units. The company is paring back in some areas, however, reducing banking interests in Thailand and selling its operations in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The bank also has announced a pair of dividend increases in 2019 - from 85 cents to 87 cents, then again to 90 cents, for a total improvement of 6%. That will help maintain BNS' status among high-yielding Canadian dividend stocks.

SEE ALSO: The 30 Best Mutual Funds in 401(k) Retirement Plans

BCE Inc.

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Market value: $43.0 billion

Dividend yield: 5.0%

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 11

Analysts' opinion: 6 Buy, 0 Overweight, 9 Hold, 0 Underweight, 1 Sell

BCE Inc. (BCE, $47.61) is Canada's largest communications company, boasting annual revenue of C$23.5 billion. It generates approximately 52% of its sales from wireline broadband and TV, 35% from wireless, and the remaining 13% from the company's media operations.

The company's fiber network is more than 240,000 kilometers in length - the largest in Canada - delivering internet, phone and TV to more than 9.5 million locations across seven provinces.

BCE has raised its annual dividend by 5% or more for 11 consecutive years, including this year's bump from 75.5 cents per share to 79.25 cents. Meanwhile, the telecom has kept its payout ratio within a reasonable range of 65% to 75% of free cash flow.

SEE ALSO: 15 Dividend Kings for Decades of Dividend Growth

Brookfield Infrastructure Partners LP

Courtesy VLI


Market value: $14.7 billion

Distribution yield: 4.0%*

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 11

Analysts' opinion: 8 Buy, 1 Overweight, 2 Hold, 0 Underweight, 0 Sell

Brookfield Infrastructure Partners LP (BIP, $50.08), as the name implies, invests in infrastructure assets in all parts of the world.

BIP announced in July that it is buying Genesee & Wyoming (GWR), which owns or holds interest in 120 short line railroads in North America, Europe and Australia, with a consortium of investors that includes GIC (Government of Singapore Investment Corporation). The transaction will be worth $8.4 billion, including the assumption of debt.

Brookfield is paying a 39.5% premium to Genesee & Wyoming's share price before speculation in March about the possible acquisition began. It's expected to close by the end of the year or early in 2020.

Brookfield Infrastructure Partners is just one member of the Brookfield family of Canadian dividend stocks. It's a spinoff of its parent, Brookfield Asset Management, which still owns 30% of its shares. It last raised its quarterly distribution by 7% as of the March 2019 payment.

*Distributions are similar to dividends but are treated as tax-deferred returns of capital and require different paperwork come tax time.

SEE ALSO: 25 Dividend Stocks That Analysts Love the Most

Brookfield Asset Management

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Market value: $58.6 billion

Dividend yield: 1.1%

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 7

Analysts' opinion: 9 Buy, 0 Overweight, 0 Hold, 0 Underweight, 0 Sell

The aforementioned Brookfield Asset Management (BAM, $55.95) received media attention in March 2019, when it announced it would acquire majority control of Oaktree Capital Group for $4.8 billion - a deal that makes it one of the world's largest alternative asset managers with more than $500 billion in assets under management (AUM).

Up until Brookfield acquired Oaktree - an asset manager co-founded by legendary distressed debt investor Howard Marks - most investors probably had never heard of the Canadian company or its brilliant CEO, Bruce Flatt. That's unfortunate.

Brookfield had, as of the second quarter, raised $40 billion within a year for its private investment funds, which invest in infrastructure, real estate, private equity and other assets undervalued by most investors. Doing what's difficult has made the company a lot of money. Its success is why more than 700 institutional investors have entrusted Flatt and his management team with their clients' hard-earned savings.

BAM's quarterly dividend of 16 cents per share is a little less than 7% better than what it was last year.

SEE ALSO: The Berkshire Hathaway Portfolio: All 47 Buffett Stocks Explained

CAE Inc.

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Market value: $6.7 billion

Dividend yield: 1.3%

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 12

Analysts' opinion: 2 Buy, 0 Overweight, 6 Hold, 0 Underweight, 0 Sell

If you happen to own an airline (doesn't everyone?) and are looking to get your pilots some flight simulation training, they're likely to practice in a CAE Inc. (CAE, $25.33) simulator.

The company operates three business segments: Civil Aviation Training Solutions, Defence and Security, and Healthcare. The aviation segment drives its business, generating 58% of its overall revenue. During the fiscal year ended March 31, 2019, CAE signed training solutions contracts worth C$2.8 billion while selling 78 full-flight simulators. The company has a total order backlog of C$9.5 billion - up from C$8 billion last year.

CAE's latest dividend hike, announced in August, was a 10% boost to 11 Canadian cents per share.

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Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce

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Market value: $38.7 billion

Dividend yield: 5.1%

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 9

Analysts' opinion: 0 Buy, 0 Overweight, 1 Hold, 0 Underweight, 1 Sell

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM, $86.80) is the smallest of Canada's five major banks. It greatly expanded its U.S. business in 2017, however, by purchasing Chicago-based PrivateBancorp for $5 billion in cash and shares.

In August, CIBC reported its third-quarter results, which included a 1% increase in adjusted net income to C$1.42 billion. Its U.S. commercial banking and wealth management division saw a 6% increase in the quarter. Its Canadian Personal and Business Banking division - which accounts for 47% of the bank's overall adjusted net income - was 2% more profitable thanks to higher loan volumes and wider interest spreads.

CIBC, like a few other Canadian dividend stocks, has raised its payout twice in the past year. Its first upgrade was from C$1.36 per share to C$1.40 for the dividend paid out in April, then CIBC followed that up with another 4-cent boost to C$1.44 per share for the dividend delivered in October.

SEE ALSO: 15 Dividend Kings for Decades of Dividend Growth

Canadian National Railway

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Market value: $67.0 billion

Dividend yield: 1.8%

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 23 

Analysts' opinion: 6 Buy, 0 Overweight, 12 Hold, 0 Underweight, 0 Sell

Canadian National Railway (CNI, $93.70) is the second-largest publicly traded North American railway. It boasts a network of roughly 20,000 route miles serving more than $250 billion of goods annually across Canada, the American Midwest and down to the Gulf of Mexico.

Over the past five years, Canadian National has grown revenues and operating profits by 4% and 5%, respectively, compounded annually. Although the railway recently lowered its profit outlook for the rest of 2019, citing a softening economy, strong crude container traffic should help offset some of the revenue declines.

The railroad operator has improved its annual dividend every year since it went public in 1995. The payout has averaged 16% annual growth in that time - one of the most robust rates on this list of Canadian dividend stocks - and bolstered its dividend by 18% to start 2019.

SEE ALSO: 20 Large-Cap Dividend Stocks With More Cash Than Debt

Canadian Natural Resources

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Market value: $31.4 billion

Dividend yield: 4.3%

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 18 

Analysts' opinion: 20 Buy, 2 Overweight, 3 Hold, 0 Underweight, 1 Sell

Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ, $26.47) is one of the world's top independent energy producers, with natural gas, heavy crude oil and oil sands operations in North America and offshore operations in Africa and the U.K. It produces the oil equivalent of more than 1 billion barrels daily.

In June, Canadian Natural Resources completed its acquisition of Devon Energy's (DVN) Canadian assets for C$3.8 billion. The deal will make CNQ the eighth-largest oil producer in the world (excluding government-owned enterprises).

Excluding the $2.2 billion in debt Canadian Natural Resources used to acquire Devon's assets, it has managed to pay down C$1.5 billion of its debt during the first six months of fiscal 2019. Its debt is now twice adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, amortization and appreciation); the goal is to winnow that down to 1.5x.

The company also has returned C$2.5 billion to shareholders in 2019 - split between $766 million in stock buybacks, as well as $1.7 billion annualized via the dividend. That payout of 37.5 Canadian cents is 12% higher than CNQ's year-ago dividend.

SEE ALSO: The 9 Highest-Yielding Warren Buffett Dividend Stocks

Domtar

Courtesy Domtar


Market value: $2.4 billion

Dividend yield: 4.8%

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 9

Analysts' opinion: 5 Buy, 0 Overweight, 7 Sell, 0 Underweight, 1 Sell

Domtar (UFS, $38.03) isn't among the most recognizable Canadian dividend stocks; investors who are aware of it typically envision pulp and paper. However, 18% of the company's revenue comes from the sale of adult and baby diapers under the Attends brand. Its adult incontinence products are expected to see annual demand grow by 3% to 5% over the long-term.

In 2018, Domtar generated $5.5 billion in sales, 67% of which came from the U.S. Europe accounted for another 13%, Canada 9%, and the rest of the world 11%.

Domtar generates consistent cash flow -- $465 million in 2016, $449 million in 2017 and $554 million in 2018. And it has used that cash to return $1.6 billion to shareholders in the form of dividends and stock repurchases since 2011.

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Enbridge

Courtesy Enbridge


Market value: $74.7 billion

Dividend yield: 6.0%

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 23

Analysts' opinion: 10 Buy, 2 Overweight, 9 Hold, 0 Underweight, 0 Sell

Enbridge (ENB, $36.92) is a leading North American energy infrastructure company. It has three operating segments: Liquids Pipelines, Gas Transmission and Midstream, and Power Operations.

The company's pipeline business transports 25% of North America's oil. Its gas transmission business is responsible for transporting 20% of the natural gas in the U.S; and its power operations provide service to more than 3.7 million customers in Canada as well as generating approximately 1,600 megawatts of net renewable power in North American and Europe.

Liquid pipelines are expected to generate 50% of the company's estimated 2019 EBITDA, with midstream operations contributing another 30% and Canadian power operations accounting for the rest. All but 2% of its 2019 EBITDA is considered "low risk" because of regulated, take-or-pay, or fixed-fee contracts.

Over the past 24 years, Enbridge has grown its annual dividend 11% on a compounded basis. It expects that growth rate to decline slightly to 10% annually until 2020.

Fortis

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Market value: $17.7 billion

Dividend yield: 3.6%

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 45

Analysts' opinion: 5 Buy, 0 Overweight, 9 Hold, 1 Underweight, 1 Sell

Fortis (FTS, $40.36), one of the top 15 utilities in North America, owns 10 utility operations in Canada, U.S. and the Caribbean, providing gas and electricity to more than 3.3 million customers. Its asset base has grown from $300 million at its launch in 1985 to $52 billion today.

The company earns 99% of its profits from regulated utilities, which means those profits are fairly stable and benefit from steady rate increases.

It's easy to see why Fortis has been able to increase its annual dividend for 45 consecutive years.

FTS hasn't stretched to write those quarterly checks, either. It has kept its dividend payout ratio between 61% and 73% of profits. Fortis also has given income investors a window into the future, projecting annual dividend growth of 6% through 2024.

SEE ALSO: 11 Utility Stocks and Funds to Buy for Safety and Income

Franco-Nevada

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Market value: $17.9 billion

Dividend yield: 1.1%

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 12

Analysts' opinion: 2 Buy, 1 Overweight, 5 Hold, 0 Underweight, 0 Sell

Franco-Nevada (FNV, $95.69) is different from most mining companies in that it doesn't own any mines. Instead, it finances mine developments for other companies in return for a portion of future revenue. It's a royalty play. And the more difficult it is for mining companies to get traditional financing for a project, the better the opportunity for Franco-Nevada.

FNV has diversified into oil and gas revenue streams in recent years; oil and gas now account for 16% of its revenue. Overall, Franco-Nevada generates 80% of its revenue from the Americas, with just 20% from the rest of the world. So there are geographic expansion opportunities outside North and South America.

Franco-Nevada currently is providing financing for 53 gold and 56 energy operations that are in production, another 38 gold projects that are close to production, and 225 gold and energy operations that are in the exploration stage of development.

The Canadian dividend stock has paid out more than $1 billion in cash distributions since it went public in 2007, and increased the annual sum every year.

Gildan Activewear

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Market value: $5.5 billion

Dividend yield: 2.0%

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 8

Analysts' opinion: 1 Buy, 0 Overweight, 9 Hold, 1 Underweight, 1 Sell

Gildan Activewear (GIL, $26.84) is based in Montreal, Canada, but you wouldn't know it based on where it generates most of its sales. In the most recent second-quarter, Gildan collected just 3% of its overall revenue ($801.7 million) in Canada; 85% of its sales originated in the U.S., with the remaining 12% coming from elsewhere.

Gildan is best known as a maker of T-shirts, printed and unprinted. That part of the business continues to experience strong sales growth. The hosiery part of its business, which includes socks and underwear, isn't growing. Aside from that, however, Gildan's business looks pretty healthy.

GIL has increased its annual dividend by a robust 20% or more for six consecutive years.

Interestingly, Gildan is one of just two apparel companies in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, which tracks leading companies in terms of economic, environmental and social criteria.

SEE ALSO: The 19 Best Stocks to Buy for the Rest of 2019

Magna International

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Market value: $17.6 billion

Dividend yield: 2.6%

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 10

Analysts' opinion: 6 Buy, 0 Overweight, 8 Hold, 0 Underweight, 1 Sell

It's not easy being an auto parts manufacturer, but if any company can handle tariff and other pressing issues, it's Magna International (MGA, $56.24).

The UAW strike at General Motors (GM) is expected to cost Canadian automotive suppliers some profits in their third-quarter results. Bank of Nova Scotia analyst Mark Neville cut Magna's Q3 2019 earnings estimates by 5.5% as a result.

"While the estimated sales impact is significantly less, we would expect to see high decremental margins on the lost sales as the companies, in our opinion, would be unable to fully adjust the cost base," Neville wrote in an October note to clients.

Nonetheless, Magna, a big player in electric vehicle development, should benefit as the automotive industry electrifies. It's also spending big to support its stock. In Q2 2019 alone, the company paid out $110 million in dividends and repurchased $409 million worth of shares.

Methanex

Courtesy Methanex


Market value: $3.1 billion

Dividend yield: 3.5%

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 8

Analysts' opinion: 5 Buy, 1 Overweight, 7 Hold, 1 Underweight, 1 Sell

Methanex (MEOH, $40.67) is the world's largest producer of methanol - a clean-burning biodegradable fuel that's gaining traction for both commercial and residential uses. Methanol also is used in combination with other chemicals to make plastics, paints, building materials and more.

Although Methanex only produced 7.2 million metric tons of methanol in 2018, it can produce as much as 9.4 million metric tons annually, providing significant potential cash-flow growth.

Although methanol prices continue to trade near multiyear lows, analysts have become more bullish about the Canadian dividend stock's future due to escalating geopolitical tensions, increased Chinese demand, methanol supply outages in the Middle East and mounting pressures on high-cost Chinese producers.

Between its quarterly dividend (currently 36 cents quarterly) and share repurchases, Methanex has returned $1.7 billion to shareholders between 2013 and 2018.

SEE ALSO: The 20 Best Small-Cap Dividend Stocks to Buy

Pembina Pipeline

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Market value: $18.2 billion

Dividend yield: 5.2%

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 8

Analysts' opinion: 12 Buy, 2 Overweight, 1 Hold, 0 Underweight, 0 Sell

Pembina Pipeline (PBA, $35.48) is a leading North American energy infrastructure company based in Calgary, Alberta. The company's pipelines will soon have the capacity to transport 3.2 million barrels of oil equivalent per day.

Its Pipeline business accounts for 58% of overall profits. The Facilities division, which gathers and processes natural gas, accounts for 27%, and its Marketing & New Ventures division makes up the rest.

Pembina is in the process of acquiring Kinder Morgan Canada, as well as the U.S. portion of the Cochin Pipeline system, for C$4.4 billion from Kinder Morgan Inc. (KMI). This comes a year after Kinder sold the Trans Mountain Pipeline to the Canadian government for a similar amount.

Pembina has distributed C$7.8 billion in dividends, which are paid out monthly, since 1997.

Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers

Courtesy Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers


Market value: $4.5 billion

Dividend yield: 1.9%

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 16

Analysts' opinion: 1 Buy, 1 Overweight, 7 Hold, 1 Underweight, 1 Sell

Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers (RBA, $41.54) helps individuals and businesses sell heavy equipment using more than 40 permanent auction sites in approximately 15 countries, as well as through its online marketplace, IronPlanet.

Ritchie Bros. sold $4.9 billion of other people's goods in 2018 and took a slice of every transaction. But RBA doesn't just bring buyers and sellers together; it also adds value by providing shipping, insurance, financing, warranties and other services vital to the auction experience.

Since 1980, Ritchie Bros. has grown its annual gross transactional value from $86 million to $4.9 billion - a compound annual growth rate of 11%.

RBA announced an 11% increase in its quarterly dividend, to 20 cents per share, starting with its September payout.

SEE ALSO: The Kip ETF 20: The 20 Best Cheap ETFs You Can Buy

Royal Bank of Canada

Courtesy Royal Bank of Canada


Market value: $117.6 billion

Dividend yield: 3.9%

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 9

Analysts' opinion: 2 Buy, 0 Overweight, 1 Hold, 0 Underweight, 0 Sell

Royal Bank of Canada (RY, $82.03) is another of Canada's largest banks, and among the largest in the world by market capitalization. It boasts more than 16 million customers and operates in 36 countries including the U.S. and (naturally) Canada.

RBC was named Retail Banker International's North America Retail Bank of the Year in 2019. And J.D. Power has named it the highest or second-highest for customer satisfaction in each of the past four years.

In January 2019, Royal Bank aligned its ETF business with BlackRock's (BLK) iShares business under the RBC iShares brand to create the largest provider of Toronto Stock Exchange-listed ETFs in the Canadian market.

Over the past 10 years, Royal Bank of Canada paid out more than C$35 billion in dividends to its shareholders, growing its payment by an average of 12% a year. In fiscal 2018, it returned 58% of its profits to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases.

Suncor Energy

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Market value: $48.6 billion

Dividend yield: 4.0%

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 17

Analysts' opinion: 16 Buy, 2 Overweight, 8 Hold, 0 Underweight, 0 Sell

Suncor Energy (SU, $31.59) is best known for its oil-sands projects in Northern Alberta.

Its latest, Fort Hills, which boasts lower carbon emissions and operating costs, is capable of producing 14,500 metric tons of oil sand per hour. That translates into almost 200,000 barrels of oil a day - more than some OPEC nations produce. Suncor, which spent more than C$17 billion on Fort Hills, owns 54.1% of the Fort Hills Energy LP, which operates the open-pit mine.

Suncor has grown its dividend by 19% annually, from 50 Canadian cents per share in 2012 to C$1.44 in 2018. In February, Suncor increased its dividend by 17% to 42 cents a share quarterly and approved a $2 billion share repurchase program.

Suncor is one of just two Canadian dividend stocks held by Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B), the other being Restaurant Brands International (QSR), the owner of Burger King, Tim Hortons and Popeyes. Warren Buffett's holding company took a 10.8 million-share position in Canada's largest integrated energy firm in February 2019.

SEE ALSO: 13 Super-Safe Dividend Stocks to Buy Now

TC Energy

Courtesy TC Energy


Market value: $46.4 billion

Dividend yield: 4.5%

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 19

Analysts' opinion: 10 Buy, 0 Overweight, 8 Hold, 0 Underweight, 1 Sell

TC Energy (TRP, $49.70) is the new name of TransCanada, a leading North American energy infrastructure company that began life in 1951 as TransCanada Pipelines Limited. TransCanada announced the name change early in 2019 with the official transition on May 3, to reflect that it has operations across North America, and not just in Canada.

The Calgary-based company owns one of the largest natural gas pipeline networks in North America (57,500 miles of pipeline), capable of moving 25% of the continent's demand for natural gas. In addition, its Keystone liquids pipeline system transports approximately 20% of Western Canada's crude oil exports.

The U.S. Keystone XL pipeline got the green light from President Donald Trump in 2016. However, several environmental groups, including Native American tribes, are still fighting it. If and when it's built, it's expected to carry more than 830,000 barrels of oil daily from Canada down to Nebraska.

TC Energy increased its dividend by 9%, to 75 Canadian cents per share quarterly, starting with its March 2019 payout. The company intends to expand the dividend by 8% to 10% annually through at least 2021.

Telus

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Market value: $21.4 billion

Dividend yield: 4.8%

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 17

Analysts' opinion: 8 Buy, 0 Overweight, 8 Hold, 0 Underweight, 0 Sell

Telus (TU, $35.56) is a Canadian telecom company with C$14.4 billion in annual revenue, derived from 13.4 million subscribers -- 9.2 million wireless, 1.9 million high-speed internet, 1.2 million phone and 1.1 million TV. In 2018, it grew its wireless and internet subscribers by 3.6% and 6.6%, respectively.

In October, Telus paid C$700 million for the Canadian division of security company ADT Inc. (ADT). The move gives it 500,000 residential and business security customers.

Telus established a goal in 2017 to grow its annual dividend payment by 7% to 10% annually over the next few years while meeting its long-term payout guideline of 65% to 75% of earnings. It has raised its dividend by a little more than 7% in 2019 across a pair of increases, and on Nov. 7, it announced a payout upgrade starting with the January 2020 distribution. Since 2004, the telecom has returned more than C$16 billion to shareholders, including C$11 billion in dividends.

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Thomson Reuters

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Market value: $33.3 billion

Dividend yield: 2.2%

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 26

Analysts' opinion: 2 Buy, 0 Overweight, 7 Hold, 1 Underweight, 1 Sell

Thomson Reuters (TRI, $66.63) sold 55% of its Financial & Risk business in October 2018 for $17 billion to a group of investors led by Blackstone Group (BX). The deal saw Thomson Reuters return $9 billion to $11 billion of the proceeds in the form of share repurchases, with the rest going to debt repayment and cash to the balance sheet.

The Financial & Risk unit, renamed Refinitiv, agreed on Aug. 1 to be acquired by the London Stock Exchange Group in a $27 billion all-stock deal. Thomson Reuters will own 15% of the combined business.  

In February, Thomson Reuters increased its annual dividend by about 3% to 36 cents per share, extending a dividend-growth streak that's more than a quarter-century old. The company also has spent $15.7 billion on buybacks between January 2012 and December 2018.

Toronto-Dominion Bank

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Market value: $105.1 billion

Dividend yield: 3.9%

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 9

Analysts' opinion: 1 Buy, 0 Overweight, 0 Hold, 0 Underweight, 0 Sell

Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD, $57.75) is Kiplinger's top pick for Best National Bank. And it's arguably Canada's most successful big bank, if earnings have anything to do with it.

TD's third-quarter earnings grew 6.7% to C$3.3 billion thanks to 27% year-over-year growth from all three of its operating segments. That includes a 13% increase from its U.S. retail banking business, which has a 41.7% ownership stake in TD Ameritrade (AMTD).

The move to zero-commission stock trading will hurt the bank's investment in TD Ameritrade in the short term. In the long term, however, TD should continue to benefit from its U.S. business.

The Canadian bank stock has increased its annual dole by 11% per year on average, to a current quarterly payout of 74 Canadian cents per share.

SEE ALSO: Hedge Funds' 25 Favorite Blue-Chip Stocks

Waste Connections

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Market value: $23.7 billion

Dividend yield: 0.8%

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 10

Analysts' opinion: 12 Buy, 0 Overweight, 2 Hold, 0 Underweight, 0 Sell

Waste Connections (WCN, $89.84) is a waste services company providing garbage and recycling collection for secondary markets to more than 7 million customers in 42 U.S. states and six Canadian provinces.

Between 2016 and 2018, Waste Connections has grown its adjusted free cash flow from $551 million to close to $880 million, allowing for double-digit increases of its dividend. In 2019, the company expects its annual revenue to grow to $5.4 billion, filtering down to $915 million in adjusted FCF.

Waste Connections is one of the hottest-performing Canadian dividend stocks on the list, too. WCN has delivered 188% in total returns over the past half-decade - crushing the 11% return in the iShares MSCI Canada ETF (EWC, 11%) and even the S&P 500 (68%) over that same time frame. The stock also has delivered 15 consecutive years of positive shareholder returns.

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