Over the past decade, the Canadian government has slowly increased its regulation of the internet and its users.
It now has some disturbing online surveillance, censorship, and copyright laws similar to those of its closest neighbor, the USA.
Using a VPN in Canada will:
- Hide your IP address to bypass internet censorship.
- Encrypt your web traffic to prevent ISP spying.
- Access region-restricted streaming content.
- Secure your connection on public WiFi networks.
To learn more about what VPNs can do, read our guide to VPN software.
For now, here’s a list of all the reasons you should be using a VPN in Canada:
1. Avoiding Mass Surveillance
Online privacy is under threat in Canada. The Copyright Modernization Act (Bill C:11) requires Canadian ISPs to log every internet user’s identity and activity for up to six months.
That means your browsing history, messages, and downloads are all being recorded – whether you’re with Bell, Access Communications, or Cable Axion.
The Canadian Intelligence Services also collect mass surveillance data from citizens for reasons of “national security.”
In 2015, the Anti-Terrorism Act was passed and mass data has been collected and stored by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) ever since.
The country is also part of the Five Eyes Intelligence Alliance alongside some of the worst spying nations, like the US and Australia.
Virtual private networks hide your IP address and encrypt all of the web traffic leaving your device. That means your ISP, the government, and any websites you visit will find it much harder to track you.
2. Bypassing Internet Censorship in Canada
Surveillance isn’t the only issue in Canada – internet censorship is also on the rise.
In 2015, online gambling websites were blocked by Bill 74 – Canada’s first online censorship law. In 2005, a Canadian ISP called Telus blocked a website that supported the views of a labour union, too.
Both of these decisions were later repealed, but the question of internet freedom in Canada still hasn’t been resolved.
In 2017, The Supreme Court of Canada approved a corporation’s effort to censor international websites.
In 2017, The Supreme Court of Canada ruled in favour of censoring websites.
Big Canadian companies like Bell Media and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) are also exerting pressure to try and block websites they don’t like. They have even tried to ban VPNs due to ‘copyright infringement’.
It’s clear that Canadian law is no friend to internet freedom. VPN services switch your IP address with one that belongs to a remote VPN server, allowing you to bypass location-based domain blocks.
3. Torrenting and Anti-Piracy Laws
Canada has some of the strictest anti-piracy laws in the world. Copyright holders are quick to react to alleged infringements, often taking Canadian citizens to court for financial penalties.
In 2016, lawsuits were launched against 1,000 Canadians by copyright holders Headhunter LLC and LHF Productions LLC. These companies won up to $5,000 per case in damages for torrenting a single movie.
In the same year, Voltage Pictures sued 50,000 Canadians for torrenting The Hurt Locker – a case that even went to the Supreme Court of Canada.
The Copyright Modernization Act (Bill C-11) requires ISPs to retain logs of all your internet activity. If a copyright holder complains, the ISP can forward the complaint and enforce a penalty.
We don’t condone any activity that breaches copyright law. Even though a VPN will hide your identity from your ISP and other torrenting peers, it’s also a vital tool for staying secure when torrenting legal files in Canada.
A VPN encrypts your data and hides your activity, which makes it essential if you want to share files safely, avoid copyright trolls, and stay clear of the Canadian courts.
For more information on torrenting safety, read our list of the best torrenting VPNs.
4. Accessing Region-Restricted Streaming Content
VPNs are also great tools for bypassing regional restrictions on international streaming services.
Although Canadian Netflix has over 5,000 titles, its content is very different from US Netflix or Japanese Netflix.
That’s because streaming websites change their content libraries depending on which country you’re accessing them from.
Whether you want to access Canadian streaming content from abroad or connect outside of Canada, a VPN will spoof your IP address and make it appear as if you’re connecting from a different location.
You’ll be able to stream geo-restricted content in Canada and other countries to give you wider access to services like Disney+, Hulu, DAZN, Sportsnet, and CBC Gem.
5. Browsing Securely on Public WiFi
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.
Can I Use a Free VPN in Canada?
Most free VPNs are simply not as good as paid alternatives. They’re often slow, less secure, and come with restrictive monthly data caps.
The worst free VPNs are even dangerous – they can log your activity, leak your IP address, or infect your device with malware.
If you’re a Canadian user looking to protect your privacy or torrent safely, we do not recommend using a free VPN. That’s because free VPNs simply do not invest in security or privacy to the same extent as premium VPN services.
It’s also very rare for a free VPN to work with streaming services or support torrenting activity – whether you’re in Canada or anywhere else.
There are a few free VPN services that are safe and effective, though.
Based on our testing, Windscribe Free is the best free VPN for Canada. It is the only free VPN that maintains fast speeds, strong security, and works with streaming websites like Netflix.
It’s also the best free VPN for iPhone and iPad users in Canada.
Windscribe Free works with Canadian and US Netflix.
Windscribe Free works with 10 Netflix libraries using AES-256 encryption and a built-in kill switch. It even supports torrenting. However, Windscribe’s free version does have a limited choice of server locations, and it comes with a 10GB data cap.
For more information on the drawbacks of free VPN software, take a look at our list of the best free VPNs.