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VPN for Canada: Considerations
What is a Canadian VPN?
Using a VPN gives you the opportunity to browse the web in complete anonymity. By masking your IP address via connecting to a private server, a VPN can help protect your online identity and your online security. For those of us that reside in Canada, a VPN is more than necessary. Why?
When it comes to the government surveillance of our online activities, many of us instantly think of the United States. While we’re not entirely wrong, Canada also happens to be a top contender. With an overreaching intelligence agency, a legislation used for notorious purposes, and a government that monitors its citizens’ digital lives, Canada easily introduces a right-to-privacy issue.
That lack of privacy is exactly why Canadian citizens and visitors of the country need to secure their devices with a VPN. We would even go so far as to say that a VPN service is essential for anybody in Canada that wants true digital privacy! After all, privacy is – or should be – a basic human right. The Canadian government has taken that right away from its citizens in an effort to strengthen national security.
We believe its time to take that basic human right back.
Are there other reasons to use a Canada VPN?
There are a wide variety of reasons to use a Canada VPN service. Since 2012, legislation chances in Canada have severely impacted the digital privacy of its citizens. Even more alarming, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) now has unprecedented powers to snoop on Canadians, as well as visitors to the country.
By using a Canada VPN, you not only ensure your own digital privacy, but you obtain:
- An encrypted tunnel that ensures your online security
- Easy installation whether it’s on your router or PC
- An extra layer of security to protect against hackers and other cyber criminals
- The ability to bypass blocked websites like TV streaming services
- Avoidance of targeted advertising
- Safe P2P downloading capabilities
In addition to the legislation chances that stir up right-to-privacy issues, Canada is also a member of the international intelligence alliance known as the Five Eyes.
Five Eyes and Canada
The Five Eyes intelligence alliance is an international private organization that involves the surveillance of the following countries: Unites States, Canada, United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Australia. Each country enlists their national security teams:
- Unites States – National Security Agency (NSA)
- Canada – Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC)
- United Kingdom – Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ)
- New Zealand – Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB)
- Australia – Australian Signals Directorate (ASD)
Back in 1946, the alliance began with the intention of sharing intelligence. The participating countries used the treaty to monitor communications of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc.
70 years later and all five countries have been actively involved in the global surveillance of communications across the world. The ultimate goal of the Five Eyes intelligence allegiance is to master internet surveillance in order to strengthen each country’s national security.
That’s not all though – on top of being a part of the Five Eyes alliance, Canada is also home to some worrisome bills that jeopardize the digital privacy of their citizens.
Legislative Bill C-11
Bill C-11 – also known as the Copyright Modernization Act – aims to fight copyright piracy. However, it also gives the Canadian government significantly more power to monitor its citizens’ internet activities.
To do this, the government requires 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.” Failing to forward a notice may result in “statutory damages in an amount that the court considers just, but not less than $5,000 and not more than $10,000.”
Since the introduction of this mandatory data retention law, the online freedom and privacy of Canadian citizens and visitors has been virtually non-existent.
Legislative Bill C-51
Bill C-51 – otherwise known as the Anti-terrorism Act – was a law rushed through in 2015. It followed the terror attack on the Canadian war memorial and parliament building in Ottawa.
The bill allows the government, police, and CSIS to share data across the administration (and with other members of Five Eyes, which we’ll go into more below). Human rights activists fear that those in power could use the bill to suppress reasonable dissent within Canada.
In addition, the draconian legislation could be used for other purposes. Examples include impairing the actions of campaigners and environmental protestors.
Are Canadian VPNs legal and safe?
Using a VPN in Canada is legal and safe, provided the Canadian VPN is being used for legal purposes. If your intention is to secure your online identity for the sake of your digital privacy, then we push you to start signing up for a VPN service immediately. Even if your intention is to bypass certain websites or services that are blocked in your country, a VPN can still help you to achieve that in safety.
With that being said, it’s also important to know that a VPN cannot be used for illegal activities like hacking, spreading viruses, spamming, fraud, theft, or viewing illegal content like child pornagraphy. As long as your VPN’s purpose is to exercise your right to digital privacy, you can go forward knowing that using a Canada VPN is not only legal but actually safer than not using one.
How to Choose a VPN for Canada
When choosing a Canadian VPN, you will want to consider various things to ensure the efficiency of your chosen VPN service. Some VPN companies will commit false advertising and some will even scam you; leaving you with no money and less security than before.
Your chosen VPN service should be speedy, efficient and true to its word – among other things. In order to find a Canada VPN with those qualities, we suggest:
- Assessing any bandwidth or service restrictions
- Reviewing the number of offered servers
- Reviewing the claimed speeds before purchasing
- Checking the locations of the offered servers
- Checking the number of allowed connections
- Reviewing any log policies
- A VPN with a kill switch option
- A VPN with positive reviews or endorsement
As a general rule, we don't recommend free VPNs because for most tasks a free service will not be robust enough. However, if you are sure you don't want to spend money on a VPN, then take a look at our vetted and trusted providers on our free vpn page.
How to Setup a VPN for Use in Canada
Setting up a VPN for use in Canada is simple. There are minimal requirements for a VPN setup, and the few requirements that do exist are easily achieved. You will need:
- A router and firewall that allows VPN connections
- Your IP address (if you don’t have it, visit www.ipchicken.com)
- A VPN service to establish a secure remote connection
After obtaining all of the necessary requirements, you can begin setting up your VPN for use.
- Navigate to the website that offers your chosen VPN service and download it
- Install your chosen VPN service onto your system (instructions are usually provided)
- Launch your VPN software to start the configuration
- Register with a username and password if necessary
- Follow the directions or prompts – usually very straight forward
- Run your VPN and enjoy browsing the web in anonymity
How to Test a Canada VPN
Testing your Canada VPN is simple, and there are a variety of different tests that you will want to try to ensure that your VPN service is working as it is supposed to. These tests include speed, malware, and possible IP leaks.
Testing for Speed
When choosing a VPN, it’s important to find a service that offers high speeds. Unfortunately, it’s too easy for a VPN company to offer a higher speed but then provide a lower speed. Luckily, testing your VPN’s speed is easy:
- Open your VPN service
- Connect to a recommended server
- Navigate to a website like speedof.me or testmy.net
- Compare the results to what your VPN service claims to offer
Testing for Malware
Lately, tons of free VPN services have been popping up – mostly on Google Play and Apple Stores. The free services claim to offer security when in reality they collect your personal information and sell it to third parties. This is why it’s important to test your VPN service for malware:
- Locate the VPN application in your directory
- Navigate to the website www.virustotal.com
- Upload the application to the website
- Scan the file for viruses
- If it comes back negative, proceed with use!
Testing for IP Leaks
The entire point of a VPN is to mask your identity. If your IP address is leaked, this defeats your VPN’s main purpose. Don’t stress – it’s easy to check for IP leaks:
- Disconnect from your VPN
- Navigate to www.ipchicken.com
- Make a copy of your IP and name address
- Exit out of www.ipchicken.com
- Log back into your VPN
- Select a recommended exit server
- Navigate back to www.ipchicken.com
- Compare the IP address listed with the IP address you copied earlier
- If the IP lines up with your chosen exit server, you’re good to go!
Best Canadian VPN Protocols
The two general VPN types – Remote Access and Site-to-Site – are based on different VPN security protocols. Like the VPNs themselves, each protocol offers different features and levels of security. As a Canadian citizen, some protocols might work better than others:
The OpenVPN protocol is an open source VPN that offers Point-to-Point connections and Site-to-Site connections. By using a custom security protocol that’s based on the SSL and TLS protocols, OpenVPN is one of the top contesters for those of us in Canada.
Internet Protocol Security or IPSec
The IPSec protocol secures an internet connection across an IP network by verifying the session and encrypting each data packet during the connection.
By operating in two ways – Transport and Tunneling – IPSec protects your data as it transfers to another network. Due to its extra layers of security, IPSec remains a top choice in Canada VPN protocols.
Layer 2 Tunneling or L2TP
The Layer 2 Tunneling protocol is combined with another VPN protocol in order to establish an extremely secure VPN connection. By creating a tunnel, L2TP encrypts its data and provides secure communication to each network. This protocol is strongly recommended for Canadians due to its high levels of security.
Get a Faster Canadian VPN
While getting a faster VPN is not always an option, improving your VPN’s speed is. Starting out, you might be put off at how slow your VPN connection can get at times. This is usually due to different internet routes becoming unavailable, causing traffic to be temporarily re-routed.
Normally, your speed issues will be resolved as new routes are added and old routes are repaired and optimized. However, if you’re in a hurry to improve your VPN’s speed, there are a few tips and tricks that you can try for maximization:
- Change to another device
- Try a wired connection instead of Wi-Fi
- Power-cycle your router and modem
- Try different servers until you find one with optimal speeds
- Switch your VPN protocol/port
Unblocking Regionally Restricted Content in Canada
Bypassing restricted content, websites, and services in Canada is as easy as utilizing a VPN. In fact, one of the most popular reasons for getting a VPN in the first place – whether you reside in Canada or any other country – is unblocking regionally restricted content.
- Choose a fast and reliable VPN service
- Download and install it
- Open up your VPN application
- Select a server that belongs to the country where your blocked content is unblocked
- Connect to that server
- Enjoy your unblocked content!
Regionally restricted content is a joke. We strongly believe it shouldn’t even be a thing – and with a VPN, it isn’t. Enjoy regionally restricted content from these services (and more) when using a Canada VPN:
- HBO Go
- HBO Now
- Google Voice
- BBC iPlayer
- Amazon Instant Video
- Sling TV
Torrenting in Canada
The laws that surround torrenting have always been a little fuzzy to citizens across the globe. When it comes to Canada, many citizens tend to wonder how exactly torrenting works. Due to the different legislation and bills, as well as Canada’s involvement in the Five Eyes intelligence alliance, torrenting can be a dangerous game for Canadian citizens.
Copyright Material vs. Non-Copyright Material
Torrenting non-copyrighted material is not illegal in Canada. If you want to use torrenting platforms to access free media or services, you can do so as you please. However, if your intention is to commit criminal activities, using a torrenting platform to do so is extremely illegal.
Criminal activities can include torrenting pirated content. With Canada’s strict surveillance tendencies, we strongly recommend not using torrenting platforms to obtain copyrighted material. However, if you still plan to proceed regardless of the law, it is heavily advised to proceed using a VPN.
Torrenting with a VPN
By using a VPN when torrenting, you’re protecting yourself and those you’re torrenting from. You are also avoiding ISP monitoring and the global surveillance of national security measures like the Five Eyes intelligence allegiance. To add an extra layer of protection, you might also try disabling seeding in your torrenting application.
A Canada VPN for Android and iOS
VPNs are as necessary for mobile devices as they are for PCs. With the number of cyber threats appearing lately – especially on mobile devices alone – it is becoming necessary to utilize a VPN on top of various other security measures. Luckily, there are several reliable mobile VPN options for iPhone and Android users.
VPN for Android
One of the best Canada VPNs for Android is ExpressVPN. With high performance levels, security, and an easy setup, ExpressVPN provides you with the digital privacy you so desperately need. In addition, ExpressVPN doesn’t log your traffic data or online activity and offers super secure 256-bit encryption.
VPN for iOS
While ExpressVPN can also be used for iOS, another great mobile VPN is IVPN. With fast performance and a three-day free trial to test its abilities, IVPN offers optimal services to its clients. Even more, IVPN does not keep logs and offers ‘unlimited’ bandwidth.
While everyone likes free things, it’s true that you get what you pay for when it comes to VPNs. It takes time and money to run a strong, secure VPN service. That means if the provider is not making money directly from you, they’re making money in other ways. Namely, they’re probably selling your user data to third parties.
This practice goes against one of the main reasons we turn to VPNs in the first place – to secure our data and keep our online activities safe from prying eyes. In this way, using a free VPN largely defeats the purpose of using a VPN in the first place.
Affordable vs. Free
There are plenty of strong VPN providers on the market that give you stellar security for less money than your daily cup of coffee. An example of this is CyberGhostVPN – ringing up at a mere $3.50/month with the purchase of a 2 year subscription. What’s more, for both CyberGhostVPN and many others, there are money-back guarantees that allow you to test their service before committing to spending your money.
Free Canada VPNs
If you’re still set on a complementary service beyond a trial period, there are some decent free Canadian VPNs that you can try. You can read about them in our comprehensive collection of the best free VPNs. However, you should always keep in mind the old adage that if you’re not paying for it, it’s likely you that’s the product.
Over the last few years, Canada has forced invasive new laws on it citizens. The legislation forces Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to keep web browsing histories and meta data on behalf of the government. The authorities package the draconian legislation under the guise of national security. They tout it as necessary for protecting citizens against the likes of terrorism and cyber-warfare.
In the end, these are only a few out of the millions of reasons why you need a Canadian VPN if you reside in Canada. No one should have the right to go through your online traffic or activity. It’s time to put your foot down and demand your right to privacy.
Our NordVPN review has consistently rated these guys as a top VPN provider year after year. The reason being that it is a highly secure service that is packed with security features such as DNS leak protection, stealth mode, a killswitch, double-hop and VPN into Tor.
Add to that a zero-logs policy and well implemented OpenVPN encryption (military grade) and you start to understand why. In the past, NordVPN had at times suffered from erratic connection speed issues. However, more recently this superb VPN appears to have managed to really iron those issues out. The result is a reliable and trustworthy VPN that is good enough to do even the most data intensive of tasks (such as streaming in HD). With NordVPN you get freedom and digital privacy, and users are free to do anything they wish (including torrenting). Admittedly, ExpressVPN is slightly faster and does have more servers, but for the added price the difference is negligible.
Finally, this VPN has a 30-day money back guarantee, so that you can test it without risking your hard earned cash, win!
- Based in Panama (great for privacy)
- Six simultaneous connections
- Works with US Netflix and BBC iPlayer
- Dedicated IPs (cost extra)
When reviewing ExpressVPN we were pleased to find that it's available on all popular devices. It installs in a snap and is really use to use. As well as intuitive design - it’s incredibly secure and includes privacy-conscious features like Domain Name System (DNS) leak protection and a kill switch, which disconnects you from the internet if your VPN stops working.
- Super fast - great for streaming!
- Very secure 256-bit encryption
- Unlimited downloading
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- 5* 24/7 customer support
- Special Deal: Save 49% Today
In addition, CyberGhost also offers free browser add-ons that are perfect for accessing geo-restricted content. Their software is user-friendly and easy to use. CyberGhost offers a free 7-day trial for users than prefer to shop first and buy later, otherwise you can use their 30-day money-back guarantee if you’re unsatisfied with their services.
- Private: Great logs policy
- Based in Romania so no government spying!
- Good looking and easy-to-use software: Seven simultaneous connections
- Friendly Live Chat support
- Peer-to-peer (P2P) torrenting allowed
Buffered is one of the newer VPN providers, based in Gibraltar, and it's really amazing. Its server count stands at 45 countries, with the number rising all the time. In addition, it boasts super fast speeds, five simultaneous connections, allows P2P, and even unblocks BBC iPlayer and US Netflix (a rarity nowadays in the VPN world!).
Buffered is always in our 5 fastest VPNs list out of almost all VPN providers, so their speeds are great (especially in Canada). Their software is excellent, and they keep no usage logs. They also have a 30 day moneyback guarantee so you can test them beforehand!
- Fast, reliable and secure
- Unblocks Netflix US and BBC iPlayer
- Peer-to-peer (P2P) is permitted
- Excellent website with guides and 24/7 live chat support
- Excellent software for Windows and Mac
This Swedish provider has everything you need from a Canada VPN. Consumers rate this VPN highly because it is superb for privacy and unblocking. It has servers in over 50 countries, and all those servers provide lightning fast connections for streaming in HD. The software is easy to use and available for all platforms. This VPN keeps unblocking services like iPlayer and Netflix US: unlike most VPNs. Encryption is strongly implemented OpenVPN, and this VPN has a zero logs policy.
With so much available at such a low price, there is no wonder that this VPN is a fantastic choice for people living in Canada. Why not try it thanks to its 30-day money back guarantee and 7-day free trial.
- 30-day money back guarantee
- Servers in 56 countries
- Strong OpenVPN encryption
- Zero logs
- 24/7 customer support