With a growing number of Canadians frustrated over content restrictions and the erosion of online privacy, many are now looking for a good VPN for Canada. Additionally, Canadian ex-pats are flocking to VPNs to unblock media and websites that are geo-restricted to Canada. But with all the VPNs on the market, how do you find the best VPN for Canada while also knowing which ones to avoid?
In this Canada VPN guide, we’ll show you which VPNs made the cut with excellent speeds, secure apps, and reliable connections.
Trends that are propelling VPN usage in Canada
There are three main reasons that VPN usage continues to grow in Canada: privacy, security, and streaming.
- Privacy – Online privacy in Canada has been eroded over the years by laws that give different agencies the authority to investigate and record all online activity. Internet providers in Canada can easily record your browsing habits and hand this data over to third parties (unless you are using a VPN that encrypts all traffic).
- Security – Many Canadians are seeking more security when using public WiFi. A VPN encrypts your data and provides more security when you are using public wireless.
- Streaming – A VPN is the ultimate tool to improve your streaming and get access to geo-restricted content. We spend a lot of time testing the best VPNs for streaming here at Restore Privacy.
We’ll explore these trends more below.
All of the VPNs for Canada that are recommended in this guide meet the following criteria:
- Located in a good privacy jurisdiction
- Passed all tests with no leaks found whatsoever
- Good performance throughout the server network
- High-quality VPN apps for all major operating systems
- Supports secure VPN protocols with strong encryption
- Offers a money-back guarantee
- Trustworthy and well-established VPN provider
Here are the best VPNs for Canada based on the latest test results:
1. NordVPN – Best VPN for Canada
|Logs||No logs (audited)|
|Support||24/7 Live chat|
NordVPN is hands-down the top VPN for Canada and puts up excellent test results in all categories. It is based in Panama and is a well-regarded no logs VPN service with a good track record. NordVPN has apps for all major devices and operating systems. The apps come with built-in leak protection (kill switch) and utilize strong encryption standards.
One of the biggest advantages of NordVPN is performance. NordVPN now supports the WireGuard VPN protocol in all apps with NordLynx. WireGuard is significantly faster than other VPN protocols, while also offering better reliability and improved mobile performance. In our tests with NordVPN, we were able to get 445 Mbps with NordVPN servers in Seattle, which makes this the fastest VPN we have tested.
Note: We were also able to get excellent speed test results, over 300 Mbps, with NordVPN servers in Vancouver, Montreal, and Toronto.
When it comes to performance, NordVPN consistently outperforms other VPNs (see the IPVanish vs NordVPN comparison). NordVPN now has over 5,500 servers in 59 countries, as well as various specialty servers for different use cases. It is also a VPN that works for China, with built-in obfuscation features and obfuscated servers.
If you want a VPN for streaming Canadian TV and movies, NordVPN has you covered. It works with Canadian Netflix, as well as many other Netflix regions (over 15 global Netflix libraries). NordVPN is also one of the few VPNs for Disney Plus that consistently works. They even offer one of the best Firestick VPN apps available.
NordVPN has some great privacy and security features as well. It is an audited and verified no-logs VPN that has passed independent security audits (performed by Versprite). Here are some of the privacy and security features you get with NordVPN:
- Double VPN servers to encrypt traffic over two different hops
- Tor-over-VPN servers that add an extra layer of encryption with the Tor network
- Obfuscated servers that conceal VPN traffic as regular HTTPS encryption
- P2P servers that are optimized for torrenting (making it the fastest VPN for torrenting)
- CyberSec feature that blocks trackers, ads, malware, and phishing domains
In terms of value and price, NordVPN is one of the best VPNs you’ll find. Right now they’re offering a big discount on two-year plans (coupon below), which drops the price down to only $3.71 per month. This makes it one of the best cheap VPNs on the market.
All NordVPN plans come with a 30 day money-back guarantee and 24/7 live chat support.
NordVPN Canada servers
We think NordVPN is currently the best VPN for Canada. Here are the pros and cons of this service:
- User-friendly and reliable apps for all operating systems and devices
- Double-VPN and Tor-over-VPN servers
- No logs (audited twice)
- Strongest encryption standards with full support for WireGuard
- Works with Netflix and many other streaming services
- CyberSec feature to block ads, trackers, and malware domains
- 24/7 live chat support
- Split tunneling on desktop and mobile apps
- Dedicated RAM-servers with 10 Gbps bandwidth channels
- Big discounts only available with long-term subscriptions
Check out our updated NordVPN review for more info and test results.
2. Surfshark – A cheap VPN for Canada with great performance
|Based in||British Virgin Islands|
|Support||24/7 Live chat|
Next up on our Canada VPN list is Surfshark, a secure and fully-featured VPN at a very low price. Despite being a relatively newer service (launched in 2018), Surfshark has taken the VPN world by storm. It offers a very secure VPN service that is packed with features and options. Surfshark’s privacy features include:
- Double-VPN servers
- Camouflage mode to conceal VPN traffic and get through blocking attempts (this makes it a great VPN for UAE, China, and anywhere else that blocks VPNs)
- CleanWeb feature to block ads, trackers, and malicious domains
- WhiteLister split tunneling feature
With the growing privacy concerns in Canada, Surfshark’s added features may be quite useful. It has also passed a third-party audit conducted by Cure53. For encryption, Surfshark uses an AES-256 cipher with the OpenVPN and IKEv2 protocols. And like NordVPN, Surfshark also supports the WireGuard protocol. This also offers great speeds, as you can see in the Surfshark vs NordVPN comparison.
Like the other best Canada VPNs, Surfshark offers an excellent lineup of apps for all major operating systems and devices. These apps include built-in leak protection settings and all the privacy and security features discussed above.
If you are looking to stream Canadian media with privacy and security, Surfshark will fit the bill. They support Canada Netflix, as well as 14 other Netflix regions, Hulu, Disney+, and many more. Torrenting is allowed on every server in Surfshark’s network. It’s also a great VPN for Kodi streaming with support for all types of streaming devices.
Surfshark also boasts a large server network that is comparable to ExpressVPN and NordVPN with 3,200+ servers in 65 countries. With this many server locations, you should be able to find a fast and reliable server in your area.
All Surfshark plans come with a 30 day money-back guarantee. Live chat is always available directly through the Surfshark website (24/7).
- Unlimited connections
- User-friendly apps for all devices and operating systems
- CleanWeb feature to block ads, trackers, and malware domains
- Works great with Netflix and many other streaming services
- 24/7 live chat support
- Strong encryption and leak protection features
- Limited support for VPN routers
- No WireGuard support for Linux (coming later in 2021)
Check out our Surfshark review for more info and test results.
3. ExpressVPN – Secure and reliable Canada VPN
|Based in||British Virgin Islands|
|Logs||No logs (audited)|
|Support||24/7 Live chat|
ExpressVPN rounds out our third choice as the best VPN for Canada. What makes ExpressVPN stand out? It offers great speeds, excellent security, reliable apps, and is a good option for streaming. ExpressVPN’s apps include a Network Lock feature (kill switch) that integrates with the operating system firewall to block all non-VPN traffic if the connection drops. Traffic is encrypted via 256-bit AES encryption using the OpenVPN or IKEv2 protocols. It also now supports the Lightway protocol, which is similar to WireGuard.
Do you want to use a VPN on all available devices? ExpressVPN is a great choice with support for all major operating systems and platforms. Their apps are clean and minimal, while also integrating all the features. It ranks as the best VPN for Windows and does well with all operating systems.
While many VPNs suffer from privacy scandals and various setbacks, ExpressVPN has a squeaky-clean track record going back many years. It has undergone independent security audits by Cure53 and even had its no-logs policies audited and verified by PWC. It also runs all servers in RAM-disk mode to ensure no information can be stored or seized by third parties (see the TrustedServer feature).
As we discovered in the ExpressVPN review, the speeds with Lightway are good, although not quite as fast as with NordVPN or Surfshark, which both support WireGuard. ExpressVPN currently has over 3,000 server locations in 94 countries around the world. This puts it on par with Surfshark and IPVanish. And while many VPNs are getting blocked with Netflix and other streaming services, ExpressVPN continues to get through and is currently one of the best VPNs for Netflix with 24/7 access to many libraries.
ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands, an excellent privacy jurisdiction outside of the Five Eyes surveillance countries. For support, they offer 24/7 live chat and email, as well as a 30 day money-back guarantee with all subscriptions.
ExpressVPN Canada servers
- User-friendly and secure apps
- Fast speeds throughout the server network
- Split tunneling feature (for Mac OS, Windows, and routers)
- Works with Netflix and most streaming services
- 24/7 live chat support
- Passed independent third-party audits for security and no-logs
- Very large server network
- Above-average prices
- Fewer features than some leading VPNs
Why should you use a VPN for Canada?
As we noted earlier, VPN usage continues to grow in Canada. Here is a brief overview explaining why more Canadians than ever are using VPN services:
1. Online privacy concerns in Canada
Surveillance and the loss of online privacy is a big concern for regular Canadians. This trend has been ongoing for many years. Recent news reports also show that various Canadian agencies are partnering up with private companies, such as Clearview AI, to snoop on citizens.
Just like in the US, Canada has many laws that sound fine on the surface, but contain problems that are hidden in the details. This is more of a problem today in Canada than ever before.
In the past few years, Canada has passed a number of laws that infringe on Canadians’ right to online privacy.
- Bill C-11 (Copyright Modernization Act) – Passed in September 2011, the Copyright Modernization Act basically forces data collection by internet providers and search engines to enforce copyright claims. In other words, it forces you to sacrifice your online privacy so large digital media companies can go after someone for downloading music or videos.
- Bill C-51 (Antiterrorism Act 2015) – The Antiterrorism Act of 2015 is also alarming. It provides Canadian authorities with sweeping authority to hack, record, and monitor practically any device that uses the internet in Canada. Of course, the issue of sacrificing privacy to combat “terrorism” is a worldwide trend and is not limited to Canada.
- Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act – This is the “lawful access” legislation that was passed in December 2014. While the legislation was proposed to theoretically protect people from “cyberbullying”, it included many other provisions unrelated to its original intent. This bill broadly expanded the ability of authorities to access online data, phone records, and digital tracking with only a “reasonable grounds for suspicion.”
People in Canada today can now be snooped and surveilled by internet providers, telephone companies, and a broad assortment of government agencies – and it’s all perfectly legal.
The best and most effective solution to these problems is to use a VPN whenever you are online. VPNs work great on computers, tablets, phones, and more. This will encrypt and anonymize your online activity, thereby making it unreadable to third parties.
Canada’s neighbor to the south, the United States, may also be collecting data on Canadian ex-pats and passing this on to others (discussed more in the VPNs for USA guide).
2. Canadian internet providers record browsing data
If the surveillance concerns noted above weren’t enough to put you on edge, it gets even worse. Canadian internet providers can easily record every website you visit. In many countries, such Australia, this is mandatory due to data retention laws.
Canadian internet providers can record your browsing history by simply recording DNS requests. These requests reveal all the websites you visit and are sent to your internet provider in cleartext. When you use a VPN, however, the VPN servers will handle all DNS requests and they will be encrypted (hidden) from third parties.
This is a trend we are seeing everywhere. In the UK, internet providers are forced to record all web browsing of their users and pass this data on to the government – this is why using a VPN for the UK is so important.
3. Heavy-handed copyright laws
Canada is also home to harsh copyright violation laws. Thanks to the Copyright Modernization Act (Bill C-11), internet providers and search engines must record your activity. If you are suspected of infringing on any copyright, such as downloading music or movies, you can be hit with fines in the thousands of dollars. (Time to get the best VPN for torrenting and keep your activity concealed.)
Here is one news clip that highlights the importance of using a VPN in Canada when doing anything that could be a “grey area” with copyright issues.
Note: We see these same trends unfolding in the United States. In fact, the COVID-19 relief bill included a provision to jail people for 10 years for illegal streaming.
4. Streaming and accessing geo-restricted content
Another reason for people in Canada to use a good VPN is for accessing geo-restricted media and websites. For example, UK ex-pats living in Canada may want to watch BBC, which blocks anyone who does not have a UK IP address. With a VPN, someone in Vancouver, for example, could connect to a server in London and stream BBC iPlayer with a VPN till their heart’s content.
Similarly, Canadians living abroad can use a VPN to access Canadian Netflix. A VPN is also useful for streaming Canadian TV channels, such as the CBC.
5. Get a Canada IP address with a VPN
Lastly, there are also people outside of Canada who may want a Canadian IP address. In addition to accessing Canadian media, a Canadian IP address might be necessary for banking and other services.
To get a Canadian IP address, all you need to do is connect to a VPN server in Canada. The VPN server’s IP address and location will replace your IP address and location.
What about Canadian VPNs?
You may have noticed that there are no Canadian VPN services (VPNs legally based in Canada) recommended in this guide. The reason for that is simple: Canada is not a very good jurisdiction for privacy. Like the United States, Canada has passed many laws that infringe on peoples’ right to privacy, as we have already noted.
Additionally, Canada is also a member of the Five Eyes alliance of surveillance/data collection partners. This means that the Canadian government cooperates with the US, UK, Australia, and other governments to collect and share mass surveillance data. And speaking of Australia, VPN usage there is also growing, thanks to mandatory data retention laws and the loss of privacy.
Here are some of the Canadian VPNs we have reviewed. None of these were top-performers:
Canada is a great country. But from a privacy perspective, it would be wise to pick a VPN that’s located in a better jurisdiction.
Are VPNs legal in Canada?
Yes. VPNs are perfectly legal and are used by people in Canada every day for privacy, security, and online freedom. And with more people working from home in Canada, online security is more important than ever.
In fact, Canadian businesses use VPNs every day for data security, especially with remote workers or traveling employees. Even in places like China, VPNs are still legal for everyday use and achieving more online privacy and security.
From Canada to Europe and Australia, VPNs are quickly becoming popular as more people choose to restore their privacy with good VPN services and other privacy tools. In short, you don’t have anything to worry about when using a good, trustworthy VPN, whether you’re located in Canada or anywhere else.
Of course, you should not be using a VPN to break any laws in your country. If you’re like most people, however, a VPN is just an important tool for privacy, security, and more online freedom.
How to get the best VPN speeds for Canada
The main tip for getting the best VPN speeds for Canada is to connect to a nearby server in your geographical region. For each of the Canada VPN services above, I also provided all of the server locations in Canada. If you are in Canada, connecting to one of these locations, or a nearby VPN server in the US, will offer the best performance.
For high-performance VPN services, including all three of our Canada VPN recommendations above, speeds should be excellent with nearly all servers. As a general rule of thumb, however, you should expect some speed tradeoff for long-distance connections, such as connecting to servers in Australia from Canada.
If you want the fastest VPN speeds possible, I would recommend going with either:
- NordVPN with WireGuard
- Surfshark VPN with WireGuard
While ExpressVPN does have fast VPN servers in Canada, it is still not as fast as either NordVPN or Surfshark VPN. You can see this in our recent ExpressVPN vs Surfshark comparison.
WARNING: A VPN will not help if you have speed problems with your internet provider.
I have seen various complaints from people about Rogers, Bell, and other Canadian internet providers. Issues range from speed problems to connectivity, but user reviews vary on this subject!
If you are having speed issues, you may want to first verify the problem does not reside with your internet provider. It’s also easy to test your VPN for speeds and data leaks.
Conclusion: Best VPNs for Canada
While Canada remains a great country with friendly people and beautiful scenery, it is also a place where online privacy continues to deteriorate. Fortunately, there have been some minor improvements, such as proposed laws to better protect data privacy. But as we wait for things to (maybe?) get better, it’s best to take control of your own data with a good VPN and other privacy tools.
Using a VPN for Canada will help you to restore your privacy, secure your data, and access any content you want from around the world, wherever you are located.
Here are the best VPN services for Canada that performed well in the latest round of testing and meet all of the criteria listed at the top of this guide.
Do you have any suggestions or comments on using a VPN for Canada? Feel free to drop a comment below…