Canada’s cybersecurity laws are getting tighter by the day. While the legislations bode well for the citizens’ safety and security from threats such as terrorism, many feel some provisions are increasingly encroaching on online privacy. We created this list to help you find the best VPN for Canada, so you can escape the federal government’s steady gain in surveillance power.
A virtual private network (VPN) helps you defeat online censorship and delivers other pertinent benefits. It enables you to evade cyberthreats, access content on location-restricted sites and get better deals on online purchases by browsing from other countries. However, not all VPN services fit the bill for use in Canada.
- ExpressVPN is the best VPN for this list because it has strong security, server locations in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver, plus blazing-fast connection speeds.
- NordVPN is another great VPN if you need to bypass geo-restrictions, defeat sporting blackouts, share sensitive information and access regional locked content within Canada.
- CyberGhost and Surfshark are safe bets if you want a reliable VPN on a budget.
- Windscribe is hands down the best free VPN for Canada.
We tested many VPN providers and came up with a list of the five best VPNs for Canada. Keep reading to find out how the VPN services suit your needs.
To get a Canadian VPN, first analyze your needs (streaming, security, privacy, etc.) and pinpoint a VPN with features that best fulfill these needs.
Yes, VPNs are legal in Canada. However, keep in mind that some countries ban VPNs, so be sure to download and install your preferred app before traveling overseas.
You can use a free VPN for Canada, but we suggest this only if the provider is reliable and has an untainted reputation, like Windscribe.
You can unblock Netflix, Hulu and HBO Max with a VPN. However, you have to pick one of the best VPN for streaming to successfully break through the walls of geo-restrictions imposed by the streaming sites.
What Makes the Best VPN for Canada?
There are multiple reasons to use a VPN in Canada (which we’ll get into later in this article). If time isn’t on your side, here’s our shortlist for the best Canada VPNs.
- ExpressVPN — Blazing-fast speeds and excellent ability to unblock streaming services
- NordVPN — Top-notch security and privacy
- CyberGhost — Affordable and torrenting-optimized servers
- Surfshark — Inexpensive and multiple special security features
- Windscribe — The best free VPN with Canadian servers
A good Canada VPN should offer an extensive server network both globally and in the country. This broad server network means you’ll have multiple IP addresses to choose from to spoof your location and access geo-restricted content. Besides that, the Canada VPN should be fast enough to support lag- and buffering-free streaming on CBC, Sportsnet NOW and other Canadian channels when you travel abroad.
Before you can stream content, you need to first get into the streaming platform. For this reason, the Canada VPN should pack enough power to break through the walls of geoblocking that Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and other sites impose. Unlimited bandwidth is also of the essence, particularly if you plan to binge-watch your favorite movie or TV series.
Most importantly, regardless of whether you’re a journalist, political activist or streamer, you need watertight digital security and privacy. Keep in mind, Canada’s internet infrastructure is intimately linked to the U.S. internet service networks. As a result, when you visit your favorite Canadian website, the traffic is more often than not routed south of the border; thus, exposing you to foreign surveillance.
The 5 Best VPNs for Canada
The VPNs on our list sport unique features and abilities that make them fit for use in Canada. We’ll delve into the nitty-gritty details, starting with ExpressVPN, our best Canada VPN.
More details about ExpressVPN:
- High-speed servers suitable for streaming
- Easy to use
- Excellent ability to unblock streaming services
ExpressVPN is without a doubt the best VPN service for Canada for various reasons. It has over 3,000 servers in 160 server locations, including locations in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. ExpressVPN also utilizes the best-in-class data encryption and VPN protocols that create an impervious layer of security.
Beyond stellar security, ExpressVPN is the best VPN for streaming as it packs an unparalleled ability to unblock all streaming services. This ability, coupled with ExpressVPN lightning-fast speeds, means that you can stream Canadian-specific content even when you travel abroad. Even better, it helps you keep in touch with the latest developments in your country via CBC Canada.
ExpressVPN is the fastest VPN on the market — not even NordVPN can match its speed, as you’ll read in our ExpressVPN vs NordVPN article. Whether you’re streaming Netflix Canada from Europe or watching NBA games online from Canada, it guarantees you no lag or buffering.
Even though ExpressVPN is pricey compared to other VPNs on our list, it gives you a lot of bang for the buck thanks to its rich set of features. Besides that, it allows five simultaneous connections and offers a 30-day money-back guarantee for extra peace of mind. Read our ExpressVPN review to learn more.
ExpressVPN isn’t the most affordable VPN. Still, it’s worth every penny considering its suite of features: a kill switch, leak protection, strict no-logs policy, unlimited bandwidth and lightning-fast speeds. Moreover, ExpressVPN is as easy to use as it gets and works seamlessly on router, Windows, Mac, iOS, Linux and Android devices.
More details about NordVPN:
- Pricing: $3.71 per month on the two-year plan
- Provider website: www.nordvpn.com
- Double-hop servers for extra security
- Great for torrenting
- Over 480 servers in Canada
- Can be slow over long distances
NordVPN came in a very close second — it would have claimed the first spot were it not for ExpressVPN’s blazing-fast and consistent speeds. This doesn’t mean NordVPN is a fly-by-night service on the speed front; on the contrary, it’s fast enough for all internet activities. Moreover, it has a slight edge over ExpressVPN privacy-wise, thanks to unique tools like Onion over VPN.
The provider offers a massive network of 5,400 servers, including over 480 servers spread across three server locations: Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. This lets you access on-demand content, live streaming and news programming in Canada when you travel abroad and unblock Netflix U.S. from the comfort of your couch.
NordVPN uses double VPN, a VPN security feature that encrypts your internet traffic twice. In doing so, it offers complete online privacy — not even the Five Eye’s upstream surveillance programs (which Canada is part of) can see your final web destination. That means when you send or access sensitive information, you don’t have to worry about clandestine interception of traffic by Canadian or U.S. agencies.
The provider is a wallet-friendly VPN service that only costs $3.71 per month on the two-year plan. There’s no free trial or free plan but worry not because all NordVPN plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Read our NordVPN review to learn more.
Besides being budget-friendly, NordVPN is a highly effective VPN service for Canada. Its forte is top-notch digital security and privacy, which is indispensable when sailing the Canadian internet waters. Even though its connection speeds dip when connecting to longer-distance servers, a hop to Netflix U.S. shouldn’t present any hitch. Plus, given its stellar online security and performance, it’s the best VPN for torrenting in Canada.
More details about CyberGhost:
- Over 300 servers in Canada
- P2P-friendly servers
- Solid security & privacy
CyberGhost boasts a massive network of over 7,000 servers, including 306 servers spread across Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. The Canadian servers open infinite possibilities, allowing you to watch CBC or stream Netflix Canada anywhere in the world as if you were in the country.
Though owned by a London-based firm, CyberGhost operates as a standalone entity headquartered in Romania — a privacy-friendly jurisdiction. This — coupled with CyberGhost’s strict no logs policy, strong AES encryption and several VPN protocols — helps keep your digital anonymity intact.
While torrenting isn’t illegal in Canada, the federal Copyright Act has made it a dangerous internet activity. The movie and TV production studios in Hollywood are suing hundreds of Canadians each day caught illegally sharing copyrighted content. Fortunately, CyberGhost provides torrenting-optimized servers to hide your P2P traffic and save you any potential legal repercussions.
CyberGhost is one of the cheapest VPN providers on the market, and it does give you various options to get a firsthand feel of its capability. You can try its free trial for seven days on mobile and one day on desktop (read our CyberGhost review for more). Alternatively, you can use the generous 45-day money-back guarantee if you need more time to make a decision.
If you’re looking for a capable yet pocket-friendly Canada VPN, CyberGhost ticks every box. Though it isn’t the most secure VPN, it comes packed with a comprehensive suite of security and privacy features, including a kill switch, leak protection and more. The features work in unison to ensure you roam the Canadian internet world risk-free.
More details about Surfshark:
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- Special features for extra security: “multihop,” “camouflage” mode & “noborder” mode
- Strong encryption
- Smaller Canadian VPN server count
Another good VPN provider for Canada is Surfshark. Though it’s only been around for three years, Surfshark has shown it has what it takes to thrive in the crowded VPN market. With over 90 servers in three locations in Canada, it enables you to access Canadian-specific streaming sites and TV shows when you travel abroad.
Even better, beyond the commonplace security features like VPN protocols and AES 256-bit encryption, Surfshark offers a private DNS on each server. Besides encrypting your traffic, it ensures that all of your DNS requests aren’t exposed to third parties. Doing so makes it quite difficult for Canadian surveillance agencies to track back your actions online to your real IP.
Unique Security and Protection Features
Surfshark boasts a suite of unique security features such as “cleanweb” and “multihop.” The “cleanweb” blocks pesky ads that eat up your mobile data — considering Canada’s mobile data rates have become some of the most expensive globally, this is an amazing benefit. On the other hand, the “multihop” double VPN adds an extra layer of security, improving your privacy online.
On the monthly rate, Surfshark is on the same echelon as ExpressVPN, but it’s cheaper than CyberGhost on the extended plan. There’s no free trial, though, but the 30-day money-back guarantee more than makes up for it. Read our Surfshark review for more.
- Unlimited GB bandwidth,
- : Unlimited GB
- : Unlimited
Despite Surfshark’s relatively small number of Canadian servers, it enables you to lift website restrictions, unblock CBC Canada and stream hockey on Sportsnet NOW with minimal fuss. It supports unlimited simultaneous connections and imposes no bandwidth caps to let you stream as much content as you want. Besides that, it’s easy to use on browser extensions and all devices: iOS, Linux, Windows, Mac and Android.
5. Windscribe — The Best Free VPN for Canada
More details about Windscribe:
- Pricing: Free plan with Canadian servers
- Provider website: windscribe.com
- Generous free & build-a-plan option
- Windflix servers
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- Privacy could be better
- Slow when using OpenVPN
Windscribe is an ideal Canadian VPN due to its generous free plan and server distribution. It has servers in over 110 cities, including four in Canada: Montreal, Toronto, Halifax and Vancouver. Even though it doesn’t allow you to choose a specific server in the locations, it assigns you a unique Canadian IP, allowing you to access restricted content when you travel abroad.
Also, while Windscribe doesn’t deliver the speeds of ExpressVPN, it’s fast enough for most internet activities. Moreover, it has all the hallmarks of a secure VPN. Beyond the essential security tools, it also uses encapsulated connections, which provide an additional layer of encryption (to the already encrypted traffic) to protect your data.
Windscribe comes into its own when unblocking streaming sites, notably Netflix, thanks to the Windflix servers. For example, the Canadian Windflix server allows you to enjoy Netflix and other Canadian streaming channels when you travel abroad. Plus, Windflix U.S. helps you unblock Netflix U.S., Amazon Prime Video and Hulu.
Windscribe’s unique selling proposition is its affordability. Besides the free plan, which includes Canadian servers, it gives you the build-a-plan option that’s billed $1 per location per month. Even better, Windscribe offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Build a Plan
- Per “Pro” server location
- : 10 GB
- : Unlimited
- : Unlimited GB
- : Unlimited
Windscribe has some minor issues privacy-wise (as you can read in our Windscribe review), and its speeds could be better. The quibbles aside, Windscribe is downright the most affordable Canadian VPN, thanks to the free plan and build-a-plan option. We also like the fact that it offers unlimited bandwidth, unlimited simultaneous connections and top-notch security as well.
Runner Up: Hotspot Shield
More details about Hotspot Shield:
- Fast & easy to use
- Generous 45-day money-back guarantee
- Excellent connection speeds
- Privacy could be better
Lastly, there’s Hotspot Shield. When it comes to VPN server spread, Hotspot Shield has VPN servers in three cities (Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver), giving you a host of options to beat sporting blackouts and access geo-restricted content. Its global server coverage isn’t there yet, but with 27 server locations in the U.S., it’s easy to unblock popular U.S. streaming services like Netflix.
Hotspot Shield claims to be the “world’s fastest VPN.” However, in our Hotspot Shield review, we found that the vendor’s claim doesn’t hold — other services like ExpressVPN are faster. Its upload speeds are particularly awful, and it doesn’t cut it when it comes to sending large files. That aside, the VPN service actually is equal to any streaming and torrenting task you throw at it.
Catapult Hydra VPN Protocol
Hotspot Shield’s fast download speeds, especially over longer-distance servers, is down to its secret sauce, the Catapult Hydra protocol. The protocol uses patented DNS acceleration technology and auto selects the optimum server to reduce latency significantly. Beyond VPN speed, the Catapult Hydra protocol improves security thanks to its proprietary no-compromise technology.
The provider offers a free plan that includes all essential features like a kill switch and a 500MB daily data cap. For advanced features such as “robo shield,” unfettered streaming access and unlimited bandwidth, you have to go for a paid plan. The good thing is that Hotspot Shield offers a generous 45-day money-back guarantee.
Overall, Hotspot Shield can keep up with any streaming and torrenting activity you throw at it. Plus, its Canadian servers are secure enough to keep you safe and protected online. However, its upload speeds could be better, it has some privacy concerns, and the price could be lower. Its frailties aside, it works just fine on routers, smart TVs, iOS, Linux, Windows, Mac and Android devices.
VPNs That Canadians Should Avoid
When it comes to picking a VPN for Canada, you should be on the lookout for services that show certain red flags. For example, avoid services based in privacy-unfriendly jurisdictions like the Five Eyes, Nine Eyes or 14 Eyes partners. You should also avoid services that claim not to collect user logs, but still stealth collect, keep and share your records when coerced by government agencies.
Some of the disreputable VPNs you should avoid are:
- SurfEasy — It’s incorporated in Canada (one of the Five Eyes partners)
- PureVPN — Has a tainted history of not sticking to the provisions in its no logs policy and shared internet connection logs with the FBI that led to Ryan Lin’s indictment
- IPVanish — Claims not to keep logs but shared the complete personal information of one user following a subpoena by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security
What’s the Best Free VPN for Canada?
There are many VPN providers out there that claim to offer services for free. While the price tag sounds enticing, it’s usually only a veneer of other shady revenue-generating activities that happen beneath the “free” claim.
In most cases (there are rare exceptions, like Windscribe), the unscrupulous providers use tracking cookies and collect and sell personal information. Additionally, free VPNs can spread malware and are a honeypot for phishing scammers. Hence, they are a real threat to your online privacy.
Moreover, free VPNs often are trimmed-down versions of premium services. Many of them impose data caps and offer limited VPN server locations.
However, in spite of all the glaring frailties, you can still find a good free VPN — though it’s very rare. If you’re looking for the best free VPN for Canada, get started with Windscribe (read our Windscribe Review). Although it imposes bandwidth limits, it offers credible service without any dubious activities.
Why Use a VPN in Canada
According to IXmaps, about 25 percent of intra-Canadian internet traffic routes pass through the U.S. This means that when you visit your favorite websites in Canada, your internet traffic is exposed to both Canadian and U.S. privacy rules.
It also means that Canada’s sovereignty in the internet context (cyber sovereignty) is inherently jeopardized. Using a VPN helps you wade through the privacy complexity and achieve other benefits. Here are the three main reasons for using a VPN while in Canada.
1. Dodge Online Surveillance
As mentioned earlier, Canada is a Five Eyes intelligence partner — and this isn’t a good thing from a privacy standpoint. Even with strict online privacy laws banning Canadian authorities from spying on citizens, the government can still spy on citizens indirectly — through one of the Five Eyes partners.
A VPN allows you to evade any online surveillance, direct or indirect. It encrypts your internet traffic and routes it through an unbreakable tunnel. Doing so improves digital privacy, protecting you from spying eyes. It also ensures that no one, not even your ISP or intelligence agencies, can see or trace your online activity and footprints.
2. Bypass Geoblocking
If you have subscribed to a Canadian broadcast network like CBS or Sportsnet NOW, you’ll lose all watching privileges when you step out of the Canadian territory. In this case, you need a VPN to watch the Canadian channels when you travel abroad. A VPN assigns you a unique Canadian IP address, tricking the channels into thinking you’re accessing them from Canada.
What’s more, it allows you to unblock websites and streaming sites outside of Canada, such as Netflix U.S., HBO Max, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video and BBC iPlayer. That’s not all. If you’re in Ontario or other French-speaking regions, you may need a VPN to access websites that don’t have an online presence in your area because they lack a French-language website.
3. Sidestep Harsh Torrenting Laws
Torrenting isn’t classified as pirating, so it isn’t illegal in Canada. However, authorities take punitive measures on people who torrent copyrighted music, movies, books and TV shows. One wrong downloaded torrent can entangle you in a lawsuit. If found guilty, you will be required to pay a fine of up to $5,000.
A VPN saves you the harsh legal consequences. It masks your IP address as you torrent, making it impossible for copyright trolls and ISPs to trace the internet activity back to you. This way, neither the production studio nor the copyright authority will get the evidence sufficient to prove you downloaded or shared the file.
Now you know why Canada is such a unique country when it comes to online security and privacy. Hopefully, you can also understand why using a VPN is vital and know what to look for in a credible VPN for Canada. To reiterate, the best Canada VPN will be secure, fast and have the ability to bypass geo-restrictions.
If you’re at a crossroads and can’t decide which VPN to use, we recommended getting started with ExpressVPN. It offers nothing but watertight digital security and privacy, blazing-fast speed when connecting to proximate VPN servers and unblocks pretty much any streaming platform. Why not give ExpressVPN a try with the 30-day money-back guarantee that’s on offer?
Which VPN do you use? Did you use a proxy or VPN the last time you visited Canada? We would love to hear about it in the comments section. As always, thanks for reading.