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First off still quite green in the ways of investments, but are the interest payments I just received from my ETFs the quarterly dividends and can they be re-invested (DRIP) automatically

If they are not the dividends, what are they?

Thanks
 

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Some terminology here:

ETFs pay 'distributions', which is a cash payment to holders of units in the ETF. That ETF can be comprised of, for tax purposes, dividend income (from the stocks held by the ETF--taxable as either eligible or ineligible dividends), return of capital (a portion of your original investment returned as cash--not immediately taxable), capital gains (gains from the holdings of the ETF) and other income (includes Income Trust distributions, earned interest, foreign dividends etc.--taxed at your full marginal tax rate). ETF DRIPs are not proper DRIPs, but rather synthetic DRIPs. That means that the ETF provider/your brokerage buy an even number of units on the open market and put these in your account, along with any remainder from partial units in cash (since you cannot hold partial units). A proper DRIP usually sees the corporation issue new shares (although they may buy them on the market) and distribute all of the dividend as shares (no cash at all).

So, based on the ETF, it depends what the distribution is comprised of. You can check the provider's website and see what previous years' distributions were classified as for tax purposes. A bond ETF will tend to be 'other income' (ie, interest), a dividend ETF or preferred share ETF will pay eligible dividends, etc.
 
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