Canada is often perceived as one among the best countries in the world for one to live. The laws in the nation are quite favorable towards the citizens.
It is the second largest country in the world by area and still manages to be one of the leaders in the happiness index.
Canada shares a large part of its border with the USA and maintains close relations with the country. However, the two countries are perceived to be poles apart when it comes to online freedom and privacy.
But that is merely the perception. In this article, we will discuss how the situation of online privacy is not so bright in the Great White North.
The Canadian netizens also face the threats of monitoring, snooping, and cyberattacks to the same extent as the other netizens on the globe.
Some of the recent modifications in the laws of the country have made it easier for the government agencies to monitor the online activities of the citizens and collect information.
There are a few more bills in the pipeline which will further tighten the grip of the government bodies over the user’s data. Only time will tell if any of these laws which threaten the user’s online freedom will see the light of the day.
But you also need to worry about the immediate threats to your privacy and take some relevant action. VPNs are the best bet when it comes to security on the internet.
They help safe keep the user’s privacy and also protects him from any surveillance or monitoring. VPNs also help you with other activities such as torrenting and bypassing various geo-restrictions.
A VPN subscription will also come in handy if you are a Canadian citizen traveling to some foreign country.
But remember that not all VPNs are the same. They will vary in price, protection, accessibility, and a lot of other factors. Here are a few VPN services which we feel are ideal for use in Canada.
You can go through the article to know more about how we boiled it down to these and possibly make a choice on your own.
Canadians use VPNs for variety of purposes, some to just unblock extra content from the south while many others concerned about privacy and secrecy of their online activity. Here are some of our recommendations for Canadians who’re looking for ideal providers.
CyberGhost is a VPN service which hails from Romania. It has more than 3500 servers in more than 58 countries of the world.
Canada alone has more than 150 of these servers. It is this sheer number of servers that make CyberGhost such a suitable VPN service for Canada. These servers are present in Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver.
You will hardly ever come across any traffic bottleneck issues because of the presence of so many servers in the country.
The Romanian jurisdiction allows the service provider to stick to its no logs policy. You will not have to worry about the ISPs and the government scanning your data as there won’t be any for them to go through.
IPVanish has more than 1300 servers in more than 75 locations across the globe. The broad server network on the service will allow you to get through most of the geo-restrictions and you can stream all your favorite shows and sports events using it.
The speed on the service is good enough for you to watch high-resolution content without buffering. This VPN network will offer you the most of your high-speed internet connection.
There is nothing to worry when it comes to the security department. You get the encryption cover of AES 256-bit. It is military grade encryption and prevents anyone from deciphering the contents of it. The service also offers various protocols to the user, and one can switch between them as per convenience.
HideMyAss! will provide you all the necessary tools needed to experience an open and private internet in Canada.
This VPN service has got servers in more than 190 countries of the world. There are only a few countries which don’t have a HideMyAss! server.
The service allows you to bypass the regional restrictions on content and is also supportive of torrenting on the service. It provides dedicated servers for both the activities which help the user find the relevant server with ease.
This VPN service offers only one protocol, that is, OpenVPN which does the job very well. The AES 256-bit encryption aids the protocol and keeps the data from getting compromised.
ExpressVPN is loaded with features when it comes to security on the service. It offers multiple protocols with military grade encryption. The other features such as the internet kill-switch strengthen the security even further.
They have more than 3000 servers in more than 90 countries in the world. This includes a healthy share of servers in Canada as well.
ExpressVPN is capable of letting the user through the regional restrictions of some of the most heavily guarded services such as Netflix. It will allow you to stream all your favorite content without a hiccup.
The high bandwidth servers in the network facilitate better internet experience, and the robust security measures allow the user to enjoy them even more.
NordVPN has to be the one with the highest server count both in the world and in Canada. It has got more than 5000 servers placed around the globe. Around 400 of these servers are present in Canada.
NordVPN has abundant servers as well as abundant security features for its users. The ability to use the double VPN servers and the integration of the VPN servers with Tor boost the security on the service. CyberSec available on this VPN service keeps ads and malicious content away from the browser as well.
This Panama based VPN service takes care of the user’s privacy and follows a strict no-logs policy.
All these safety and security features are available on NordVPN without any compromise in speed on the service.
The changing landscape of online privacy in Canada
Canada has slowly started to move along the lines of the USA when it comes to online privacy. The government is gradually injecting bills and laws which takes away the user’s online freedom.
However, it is not just laws which are making you more vulnerable online, the spying agencies and the international ties also have something to do with this.
Let us discuss some of the roadblocks standing between online freedom and the citizens of Canada.
The 5-Eyes connection
It is extremely difficult to create a sentence which emits positive vibes when the terms ‘5-Eyes’ and ‘individual privacy’ are supposed to be used together in it.
5-Eyes is a group of countries which post World War-II decided to ally to share signals intelligence amongst each other. The other parties involved in this group are the USA, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand.
These countries conduct massive surveillance and share information with each other. USA’s spying agency NSA was heavily criticized when people came to know what kind of database they were creating of their own citizens.
It should not come as a big surprise if similar discoveries are made in the case of other countries. It may sound like something from the realm of conspiracy theories, but it is also tough to deny the possibilities.
As a Canadian, you can take the help of VPN services to be on the safer side.
Laws which threaten privacy
Canada has not the best set of regulations when it comes to subjects such as online privacy, net neutrality, and mass surveillance. A lot of bills which directly or indirectly curtail online freedom have been introduced in the country.
Bill C-11, C-51, and Bill 74 are among the ones which have been already passed by the Canadian parliament.
Bill C-11 was supposed to allow the citizens to use copyrighted material as long as it falls in the realm of fair use. The law was to prevent the misuse of copyright by media companies and other individuals.
However, there is a clause in the bill which allows the ISPs to retain the online data of the user from 6 to 12 months in case of a dispute.
Bill C-51 falls under the Anti-Terrorism Act, and it allows the Canadian government to monitor the activities of Canadian citizens.
There are other proposals such as Bill C-12 and Bill C-56 which have not yet been approved by the Canadian parliament. But if these bills turn into laws, there will be a grave threat to the online freedom of Canadians.
The spying agencies
The government of Canada recently created a monitoring body which would oversee all the national security agencies in the country.
National Security and Intelligence Review Agency (NSIRA) will be the watchdog over the investigative agencies such as RCMP, CSIS, and CSE.
Canadian spying agencies first came into limelight when their American counterpart NSA got exposed on how it conducts mass surveillance over all the citizens.
Even though nothing controversial has surfaced when it comes to these Canadian agencies, the possibility of mass surveillance cannot be neglected.
The need for the creation of a monitoring body also shows how the government itself is not so sure about the extent of the operations of these organizations.
It should not come off as a huge surprise if it turns out one of these agencies was spying on the citizens as this is what spying agencies do anyway.
But you can take some precautionary measures for sure, and there is nothing better than a VPN service if you want to preserve your online privacy.
The reasons for which Canadians need VPN
There is not much research to do if you want to know if there is a need for VPNs in Canada. Anything you do online can be compromised in one way or other.
Let us discuss some of the reasons which justify the need.
To maintain privacy on the internet
This is one of the primary reasons behind the popularity of VPN services off late. The internet is not a private place at all.
There is someone taking note of your online activities all the time. It starts with the ISPs. Internet Service Providers keep an eye on all the website you visit and content you browse on the internet.
We just discussed how the government agencies in Canada could be monitoring your online activities without you having even a clue about it.
The third kind of people who could be trying to keep track of your online activities is cybercriminals. We don’t need to explain why they would want to know about the websites you visit or the items you search on the internet.
Internet browsers such as Chrome have also been found tracking the online activities of the user.
You may be wondering what someone would do with your online data. Well, there can be many explanations for it.
They can use it to selective advertising and lure you into buying things you want but probably don’t need. Online data can also be used to influence opinions.
And some of your online data can also leak some sensitive information about you which you may not want others to know. For instance, if you look for a specific medication on the internet, your online data can give a clue about the ailment you are suffering from.
A VPN service encrypts the user’s data and prevents third-parties from monitoring it.
To stream restricted content
There is a lot of difference between the content library of a lot of streaming services in Canada compared to what they offer in the neighboring country of the USA.
Netflix, for example, offers a lot more movies and shows to its US subscribers when compared to the Canadian ones.
There is a similar case when it comes to watching live sports events. The sports fan doesn’t get it easy if the sporting event is happening in some other country or is not very popular in the nation.
The reason for the blocking of content can be anything ranging from media contracts to political restrictions (which is quite rare), but it is you who will often be at a loss.
VPNs mask the location of the user and make him appear as if he is in some other region of the world. The user can choose a suitable server location to get access to the content restricted in Canada.
To stay safe on vulnerable internet connections
Public Wi-Fi connections such as the ones available in cafes and airports don’t have the reputation of being the most secured one.
When you connect to a public Wi-Fi, you make your device vulnerable to all sorts of hacking attempts. One can easily intercept the data packets of your online traffic when you are connected to an unsafe network.
However, it is also not possible to rely only on cellular data when outside. There can be restrictions such as poor connectivity and limited bandwidth.
A VPN allows you to connect to public Wi-Fi networks without running into the risk of leaking your information. The encryption makes it impossible for one to interpret the data you have been transferring on the internet.
We all know how tough it has now become to use torrent services in most of the parts of the world including Canada.
It has been a result of constant opposition from the media companies that it is becoming more and more challenging to use P2P file sharing method.
A lot of the torrent search engines have been banned, and the ISPs are throttling internet connections when they find someone is downloading torrent.
Using of torrents for restricted and banned content is indeed illegal, and we don’t support in any way. But this is not what torrents are all about.
Torrenting is still one of the best ways to download large files. The downloads don’t need to happen in one go as it is the case with conventional methods of downloading files.
VPNs allow the user to download torrents without any of the throttling from the ISPs. Some of the VPN services also provide dedicated servers for torrenting which saves the user from the hassle of looking for the best server location for torrenting.
If traveling to foreign soil
VPNs are also a lot of help if you are going to some other country.
It will not only keep you safe from any vulnerable network, it will also give you the luxury to stick to your regular browsing habits.
You can always mark the server location as Canada and get the same experience on the internet that you used to have while at home.
A VPN service will also help you to get those cheaper plane tickets. You can do so by deleting all the cookie data that you got from the airline’s website, and then mask the country location as the neutral one, that is, not the ones which the flight connects.
How to choose a VPN for Canada
So far, we discussed all the reasons which make VPNs a necessity in Canada. However, just any VPN will not do the job.
You need to be wise when deciding which VPN service will be your defense against the harmful elements of the internet.
Here are a few things that you should investigate thoroughly when choosing a VPN service.
Jurisdiction and privacy
When getting a VPN service, you need to make sure that it is not based in a country which does not facilitate individual privacy very much.
The 14-Eyes countries, including Canada, are not a good option in such a case.
The next thing you need to keep an eye on is the service’s logging policy. Most of the VPN services claim to maintain a no-logging policy.
However, the definition of no logging keeps varying from one VPN service to another. Some of them adhere to strict no-logs policy while the others may collect metadata of your activities.
They will still claim that they have a no-logging policy as there is no collection of actual data from the user’s online activities.
The server network is often used as a flexing muscle by the VPN services. They all boast of the large number of servers in their network.
But you need to stay focused on your requirements rather than judging the VPN by the size of its network.
Make sure that the service has ample servers in your vicinity. Most of the VPN services are rich in servers when it comes to North America. So, server availability should not be much big of an issue for the Canadian netizens.
The presence of VPN servers in other parts of the world will determine your ability to bypass the geo-restrictions on the internet. In this regard, the VPN service with more servers will allow you to get through regional restrictions with ease.
Security and anonymity
It is the job of a VPN service to safe keep your privacy and keep you anonymous on the internet. A VPN service first encrypts your data and then routes it through a secure protocol to ensure its safety.
As a user, you need to make sure that both the encryption and protocol are top-notch and safe enough to take care of your information.
AES 256-bit is the best encryption available out there, and most of the good VPN services will offer it to you. However, it is also an overkill in some ways. So, if a VPN service has just AES 128-bit encrypted, don’t think of it as an incapable one. It will also keep your data safe.
Try to find a VPN service which gives you options for protocols. If there are few or no options, make sure that the OpenVPN protocol is available on the service. It is the best blend of speed and security.
Some VPN services will offer only proprietary protocols. You can check the review of such a VPN service on our website if you are not so sure about the protocol.
You will also want to consider how easy is it to connect to the VPN network. You can check if the service is available for all your devices.
If it is not available for all your devices, then make sure that you can set it up for the router. This way you will be able to use VPN for all your devices which connect to the internet.
Also, check the number of devices you can simultaneously use on the VPN network from the same account. Most of the popular VPN services will allow you to connect up to five devices.