Despite what many people assume, Canada is no privacy haven. It’s part of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing agreement alongside some of the worst spying offenders on the planet, like the US and UK. It’s got very strict cybersecurity and copyright laws, and its Supreme Court has even supported internet censorship.
Whether you live in Canada or you simply want a Canadian IP address, a VPN is an absolute necessity in order to secure your connection and protect your right to privacy.
In short, using a VPN in Canada will:
- Hide your IP address
- Encrypt your browsing activity
- Unlock international streaming libraries
- Secure your connection on public WiFi networks
Just like the other member nations, Canadian intelligence collects a lot of information from its citizens for reasons of “national security.” In 2015, the Anti-Terrorism Act was passed and mass data has been collected and stored by the CSIS as a result.
You might be a Canadian citizen, but you don’t have a say in any of this mass surveillance, and it could be illegal – as NSA surveillance was found to be in the US.
A virtual private network will spoof your location and hide your IP address from your ISP, the CSE (Communications Security Establishment) and the CSIS (Canadian Security Intelligence Service).
Think censorship doesn’t happen in Canada? Think again. In 2015, online gambling websites were blocked by Bill 74 – Canada’s first online censorship law. This was later repealed, but the question of internet freedom in Canada isn’t always certain and we suggest you play it safe.
There are other threats, too. Canada’s Copyright Modernization Act (Bill C:11) requires Canadian ISPs to “retain records that will allow the identity of the person to whom the electronic location belongs to be determined, and do so for six months.” So whether you’re with Bell, Access Communications, or Cable Axion, it doesn’t matter – they’re all in on it.
In short, a VPN gives you back control over your online privacy by preventing unwarranted spying.
VPNs are also a great tool for unblocking streaming services and accessing restricted websites. Although Canadian Netflix has over 5,000 titles, its content is very different from US Netflix, or Japanese Netflix.
A good VPN will unblock geo-restricted content in Canada and other countries to give you wider access to services like Disney+, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Sportsnet, and CBC Gem.
Big Canadian companies like Bell Media and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) have also exerted pressure to try and block websites it doesn’t like and even ban VPNs, due to what it sees as copyright infringement.
In 2005, Canadian ISP Telus blocked a website that supported the views of a labour union. The move was criticized and later undone after the block affected hundreds of other websites accidentally, but Telus defended its action as legal and justified. Online gambling sites were also banned in the country’s first domain-blocking court order.
ISPs and entertainment companies in Canada are particularly keen to crackdown on copyright infringements and exert influence on the government to block certain websites. For example, a powerful pressure group called ‘FairPlay Canada’ formally asked the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to set up a new body that bans websites it doesn’t like.
The Supreme Court of Canada
The benefits of a VPN don’t only relate to government and ISP snooping. Most internet users today use public WiFi – which hackers can easily take advantage of. A VPN will protect you from Man in the Middle Attacks (MitM), DNS spoofing, fake hotspots, and session hijacking so that you can enjoy a public space knowing your device and sensitive information is protected.
Overall, a good VPN will encrypt your traffic, hide your IP address, and offer P2P support that’s ideal for safe seeding and file-sharing. You’ll be able to access restricted streaming content and avoid the website bans and privacy threats that come with living in Canada.