One of the most well-known facts about investing is that dividend-paying stocks far outperform non-dividend-paying stocks over the long term. This means that every long-term investor should own at least one dividend-paying stock, and depending on your age and investment goals, maybe a diversified portfolio full of them. With this in mind, let’s take a look at three of the top dividend stocks you should consider buying today.

  1. Bank of Montreal: 4.2% yield

Bank of Montreal (TSX:BMO)(NYSE:BMO) is the fourth-largest bank in Canada in terms of total assets, and it pays a quarterly dividend of $0.80 per share, or $3.20 per share annually, giving its stock a bountiful 4.2% yield at current levels. Also, the company has increased its dividend five times since 2012, showing that it is committed to maximizing shareholder returns, and its financial stability could enable another increase in the near future.

  1. Inter Pipeline Ltd.: 4.5% yield

Inter Pipeline Ltd. (TSX:IPL) is one of the largest providers of petroleum transportation and bulk liquid storage in western Canada and Europe, and it currently pays a monthly dividend of $0.1225 per share, or $1.47 per share annually, giving its stock a very generous 4.5% yield. Like Bank of Montreal, Inter Pipeline has shown a dedication to raising its annual dividend, as it has done so seven times since 2009, and I think it will likely announce another increase at some point in fiscal 2015.

  1. Bonterra Energy Corp.: 5.3% yield

Bonterra Energy Corp. (TSX:BNE) is one of the leading producers of oil and natural gas in Canada, and it pays a monthly dividend of $0.15 per share, or $1.80 per share annually, which gives its stock a very high 5.3% yield at current levels. Although Bonterra has the highest yield of the three companies listed in this article, it is also the riskiest because lower commodity prices negatively impacted the company on both the top and bottom lines in its most recent quarter. I do not think its dividend is in danger of being reduced today, but if commodity prices remain low over the next few quarters, it may have no choice but to do so.

Which of these top dividend stocks belong in your portfolio?

Bank of Montreal, Inter Pipeline Ltd., and Bonterra Energy Corp. represent three of the market’s top dividend investment opportunities today. All long-term investors should take a closer look and consider buying one of these stocks to add yield and further diversity your portfolios.

Interested in five more of our top stocks picks?

For a look at five top Canadian companies that won't let you down, click here now to download our special FREE report, "Stop Following Bad Advice. Buy These 5 Companies Instead!"

NEW! This Stock Could Be Like Buying Amazon In 1997

For only the 5th time in over 14 years, Motley Fool co-founder David Gardner just issued a Buy Recommendation on this recent Canadian IPO.

Stock Advisor Canada’s Chief Investment Adviser, Iain Butler, also recommended this company back in March – and it’s already up a whopping 57%!

Enter your email address below to claim your copy of this brand new report, “Breakthrough IPO Receives Rare Endorsement.”

Fool contributor Joseph Solitro has no position in any stocks mentioned.