Canada is a free country, no doubts about it. You can access whatever you want on the Internet, but a few government agencies will try to keep up with every step you make online. And the same goes for tech giants like Google and Facebook.
In addition, there will be some restrictions imposed on you, like when you’re in a school, at work or some other place where admins have installed filtering software.
Also, you may want to access content that can’t be viewed from Canada’s soil, like the BBC iPlayer. Or just have to connect to the network in Europe for business purposes (for added security).
In all those cases, you will need a VPN and here are your best options:
- 5,000+ servers in the network
- Easy to use - install it and forget it
- One license is good for up to 6 devices
- Strict zero-logs policy
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Chrome extension is just a proxy
- You can't pay with PayPal
Its network includes more than 5,000 servers spread across 60 countries, which directly translates into faster speeds. NordVPN is also very secure, relying on the strong 256-bit encryption combined with secure VPN protocols (OpenVPN, WireGuard, IKEv2/IPSec). But as a user, you get a seamless experience with all this technology "doing its thing" in the background.
NordVPN is well suited to pretty much every task you throw at it — whether it's accessing a banned site from some country that filters out the internet, torrenting, accessing streaming services, or just wanting to keep a low profile on the web. It also doesn't keep any logs.
We highly recommend NordVPN to anyone looking for reliable service.
- Feature-rich yet easy to use
- One of the best VPNs around
- Strong no-logging policy
- Reliable support you can reach 24/7
- Limited number of servers in Africa and the Middle East
- Kinda pricey
ExpressVPN has great desktop apps for Windows and Mac, mobile apps and browser extensions. Also, it is well suited for video streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer and others.
However, what makes it stand out is its ease of use. We can't emphasize this enough. One could tell a lot of time has been spent making sure even the advanced features are easily accessible. And we love it for that. Plus, let's not forget ExpressVPN's speed which tends to leave other services in the dust.
- It's super fast!
- Works with Netflix, BBC and others
- Easy to use apps, browser extensions
- You can try it for free!
- Some advanced features are not configurable
- Not the best for high-censorship countries
Furthermore, thanks to the availability of browser extensions - Hotspot Shield is also one of our top choices for Chrome and Firefox VPNs.
Your privacy is equally well protected, with the software only collecting some anonymized that help continually improve its service.
There is one caveat though - it won't work in high-censorship countries like China. If you don't need that in the first place, we highly recommend Hotspot Shield.
As that's typically the case with most VPN services out there, the longer you commit - the better deal you get. However, what makes Hotspot Shield even better is the fact that it offers a 7-day free trial of its service. A few other top VPN providers do the same. Plus, its money-back guarantee lasts for 45 days, making for a risk-free purchase. Cause, you can always get your money back. Sweet and just the way we like it.
- One the best VPNs for torrenting
- Works well with Netflix
- Simple setup on all popular devices
- Strict zero-logs policy
- Doesn't work with BBC iPlayer
- Doesn't work in China
Its desktop apps are not among the prettiest ones, but they get the job done. The important thing is that installation is easy and straightforward, and that no logs are kept by the company.
When it comes to pricing, IPVanish is somewhere in the middle — it's not the most affordable option but also not the most expensive one. As noted, it will be most appreciated by heavy BitTorrent users, and — related — Kodi fans.
- Reliable download and upload speeds
- Works with Netflix and BBC iPlayer
- Strict zero-logs policy
- Lets you use it on unlimited number of devices
- Low number of servers in Africa and Australia
You can rely on it for streaming and torrenting, with included extra features like CleanWeb and MultiHop, delivering a that much better — and more secure — experience.
Surfshark, the company, is based in the British Virgin Islands and with its zero-logs policy makes for a powerful combo to anyone looking to keep its web whereabouts under the radar.
The service is easy to use and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Censorship in Canada
Generally speaking, there is no censorship in Canada and you don’t have to worry about posting or commenting on pretty much anything in the country.
What’s more, Internet content isn’t specifically regulated in Canada, though there are local laws that apply to websites hosted in Canada as well as to residents who host sites on servers in other jurisdictions. For instance, there was a case of Ernst Zündel, who was investigated by the Canadian Human Rights Commission for promoting ethnic hatred via his website. Nothing wrong with that as far as we can tell.
Related to that, in November 2006 – Canadian ISPs jointly announced Project Cleanfeed Canada, a voluntary effort to block websites hosting child pornography. Again, a noble effort.
In addition, in October 2011, the Supreme Court of Canada unanimously ruled that online publications cannot be found liable for linking to defamatory material as long as the linking itself is not defamatory.
However, there was also the case involving Telus which, in July 2005, briefly blocked a website being run by members of the Telecommunications Workers Union. The telco giant cited concerns over the publication of photos of employees who had crossed picket lines, and it’s advocating for readers to jam the company’s phone lines. Luckily, the situation was quickly resolved after an injunction was obtained to prohibit it from publishing the personal information of Telus employees.
Pirated content is regularly blocked
This is the part we are not so sure about even though we’re 100% against piracy. You — all of us really — should pay content creators for their work. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be creating that content in the first place.
However, we don’t like when solutions to this problem are forced onto us and that’s what Canada tried to do.
In January 2018, the industry coalition formed by major Canadian telecom and media conglomerates called FairPlay Canada proposed the formation of a mandatory system to block websites “blatantly” involved in copyright infringement. The system would utilize an independent organization to submit blocklists to the government body CRTC (Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications) for approval. The proposal didn’t envision any judicial oversight, with the ability of the Federal Court of Appeal to intervene only after the fact.
Many folks didn’t like this, criticizing the proposal for the possibility of abuse. Some even said that accidental overblocking could violate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, with statistics showing that Canada was below global averages for unauthorized music distribution. Unsurprisingly — and luckily — the proposal was struck down by the CRTC, as copyright law is outside of its jurisdiction.
But the idea was still in the air and in November 2019, the Federal Court of Canada approved for the first time an interlocutory injunction requiring major Canadian ISPs to block a pirate IPTV service. The court ruled that this did not violate net neutrality or freedom of expression.
Yes, you need a VPN for Canada
In most cases, you will be able to browse the web freely but do you really want to see your digital breadcrumbs being used by tech giants to create your digital profile. So they could serve more personalized ads. In this setup, it is you who becomes the product. No need for that as a VPN can make you anonymous online.
Also, no amount of freedom can protect you when using public Wi-Fi hotspots which could also be used by malicious hackers who in turn could grab some of your personal information. Again, with a VPN you don’t have this risk as it will encrypt all the data traveling to and from your devices and the rest of the Internet.
Plus, let’s not forget what happens when you’re visiting other, less-free countries. Chances are there will be some hurdles on your way to the Internet if you’re not using a VPN.
To sum it up. All of us need a VPN these days. It’s just the world we live in. And the good VPN will let you do many things, including:
- Accessing content that could otherwise be restricted in your physical location.
- Preventing tracking and minimizing your digital footprint so that no one can track you online (at least not that easily).
- Avoiding throttling from your ISP – which is known to happen when you’re torrenting or accessing video streaming services.
- Bypassing firewalls in a workplace, university, school and so on.
- Bypassing censorship in places like China, North Korea, countries in the Middle East, and even Turkey and Russia.
- Securely connecting to public Wi-Fi hotspots – with a VPN encrypting all the traffic coming to and from your devices.
The bottom line is – get a VPN that fits all your needs. The top contenders include the following: