Best VPNs for Canada in 2017 and some to avoid

Published by on August 5, 2017 in VPN & Privacy

flag of canada
Do you really need a VPN in Canada?  The country ranks third out of 65 in Freedom House’s internet freedom index, surpassed only by Iceland and Estonia when it comes to the world’s most open net. That might lead you to believe that the Canadian internet is a bastion of privacy and net neutrality without censorship or surveillance. But you would be mistaken.

While Canada is more progressive than many of its peers in both developed and developing countries, it still suffers from some invasive data retention, mass surveillance, and anti-net neutrality laws and regulations. These are usually passed under the guise of national security and trade deals. Some laws are now in effect while others are still waiting in committee for a vote in Parliament

Furthermore, Canadians are cut off from much of the streaming content that Americans and Brits enjoy. Canadian Netflix has a much smaller catalog of TV shows and movies than American Netflix, for example. Canadians have Crackle TV, but it’s not nearly as comprehensive as Hulu in the US.

To overcome laws that restrict internet freedom and gain access to geo-locked content around the world, Canadians can use a VPN. Short for virtual private, network, a VPN encrypts all of a device’s internet traffic and routes it through a server in a location of the user’s choosing. The encryption prevents internet service providers and other snoopers from deciphering the contents of any traffic they intercept. And by re-routing traffic through a remote server, users are assigned a new IP address and location.

To whittle down our list of the best VPNs for Canada, we’ve assessed providers on the following criteria:

  • Traffic logging policy: no storing traffic logs and preferably no metadata logs
  • Ability to unblock streaming services: Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, etc
  • Country of incorporation: preferably outside the Five Eyes (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom, and United States)
  • Servers and speed: reliable and fast servers both inside and outside of Canada

ExpressVPNexpressvpn ios

ExpressVPN stores no traffic logs on user activity and is based in the British Virgin Islands, which are not under UK jurisdiction, if you were wondering. It has consistently proved to be one of the most reliable VPNs for unblocking content, including Netflix. That includes both US and Canadian Netflix, in a web browser and in the Netflix app. ExpressVPN operates servers in 78 countries around the world including Canada. They set a high standard when it comes to speed and reliability. Well-designed, easy-to-use apps are available for Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Linux (command line), and certain wifi routers. The lattermost can be used to connect game consoles and set-top boxes like Roku, Chromecast, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire TV.

Read our full ExpressVPN review.

Deal alert: ExpressVPN have a 30 day money-back guarantee so you can try it risk free, you cab additionally get 3 months extra free here on the 12 month plan.

NordVPNnordvpn ios

NordVPN boasts a true zero-logs policy, meaning it doesn’t record the contents of your traffic nor any metadata. The Panama-based provider operates servers in more than 50 countries including Canada. It excels at unblocking streaming services including Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and more. Those seeking extra privacy and anonymity will find solace in NordVPN’s specialized servers, including double VPN, Tor over VPN, and anti-DDoS. Other servers are optimized for ultra-fast streaming. Apps are available for Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android. With up to six simultaneous devices on a single subscription, it’s one of the best values around.

Read our full review of NordVPN.

Deal alert: NordVPN has extended its Winter Deal which discounts the 2 year plan by 72%

VyprVPNvyprvpn ios

VyprVPN owns and operates all of its own servers and data center equipment in more than 60 countries, meaning it can consistently guarantee low latency and unlimited bandwidth. The provider keeps no traffic logs, but torrenters might want to look elsewhere based on precedent. The company is incorporated in Switzerland but headquartered in Texas. A NAT firewall is built in and extra-cautions users can avail of the “Chameleon” protocol for added security. It was able to unblock everything we threw at it in our tests, including Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and HBO Now among others. Apps are available for Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android.

Read our in-depth VyprVPN Review.

Free trial: There’s a 3 day free trial available here followed by 50% off your first month.

Bufferedbuffered servers and connected

Hungary-based Buffered operates servers in 37 countries including Canada. This simple, straightforward VPN keeps no traffic logs. It can unblock most streaming channels including Netflix and Hulu in a web browser. Unfortunately, Buffered doesn’t have any mobile apps yet, so iOS and Android users will have to configure a third-party OpenVPN app. Connections are fast and rarely drop. A single subscription nets you five simultaneous devices, making Buffered a solid option for a home or small office.

Read our detailed Buffered review or save money on the annual plan here and take advantage of the 30 day money-back guarantee.

SaferVPNsafervpn

 

SaferVPN stores no traffic logs but does record detailed metadata logs including the user’s source IP address. It claims to be able to unblock US Netflix, though we haven’t had an opportunity to test it ourselves as with the rest of the VPNs on this list. We did take notice of the extremely fast connection to Canadian servers in our review. The company is based in Israel. Note that torrenting is prohibited, but SaferVPN is still a solid option for Canadians who don’t torrent. Apps are available for Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, and certain wifi routers plus a Chrome extension that can be used as an HTTPS proxy.

Read our full review of SaferVPN or avail the discounted Winter Deal here

VPNs to avoid in Canada

TunnelBear

When it comes to free VPN services, TunnelBear is among the best. But because it’s incorporated in Canada, Canadians ought to avoid it. While the law is unclear as to whether VPN providers qualify as internet service providers, it’s best not to take a chance. The company could be forced to hand over customer data by law enforcement and intelligence agencies. Torrenting is also prohibited on TunnelBear servers.

SurfEasy and Opera VPN

For the same reason we can’t recommend TunnelBear, we also suggest Canadians avoid SurfEasy and Opera VPN. SurfEasy is based in Canada and thus possibly subject to government demands for user information. The Opera browser now comes with a built-in VPN that was created by SurfEasy. Furthermore, SurfEasy has not entirely transparent with us about its encryption standards.

Torrenting in Canada

Torrenting copyrighted material is illegal in Canada.

Under the Copyright Modernization Act, Canada utilizes a notice-and-notice system that primarily targets people who torrent copyrighted movies, TV shows, books, and music. The law requires ISPs send notices to copyright violators on their networks. The recipients’ identities are stored on ISP servers for six months.

Damages are capped at $5,000, however the policy is generally regarded as more educational than punitive.

Comparitech does not encourage or endorse copyright violation, but using a VPN will prevent ISPs and copyright trolls from monitoring P2P filesharing activity and tracing it back to you.

See also: The best torrenting VPN services for privacy, speed and use of use.

988-27 Oct-0800_Flag of Canada-0800_FACEBOOK” by ResoluteSupportMedia licensed under CC BY 2.0

4 thoughts on “Best VPNs for Canada in 2017 and some to avoid

  • I use VPN.ac from Roumania at about 58 bucks Canadian per year. Would be great to get your opinino on that VPN. I ran numerous speed tets, download and uplaord with VPN on and VPN off including the Measurement Lab Internet speed tests (M-lab). The results with M-Lab show that Rogers, my current ISP, really sucks in the downlaod speeds. Rogers uses a preferred testing agency that shows they are doing well but M-Lab is a more realistic test of real life and real conditons. M-Lab shows horrible speeds with Rogers. With the VPN active I can get up complete disconnections, sometiems the speeds at 90 per cent slower with the VPN active. I tried the downlaod and was trying to download a 11 Gb file, with the VPN it was going to take about 12 hours; with the VPN off it took about 1 hr. So is Rogers screw3ing with us. There is no doubt they are as one of the VPs has asked the Federal Government in Canada to ban all VPNs. Scew the public Rogers, Bell, and all the other ISPs do not give a rats ass about consumers.

  • Having used NordVPN, I found it unreliable and slow.
    Server drops are constant.
    Server overload (to many users) was also constant.
    It was great on my mobile device, but horrible on any of my Linux or Windows systems. I was a paid member for a year, but chose not to renew because it was so slow and unreliable.

    • Hi Bronze,

      We evaluate the VPNs on other criteria besides security and anonymity, such as whether they are capable of unblocking streaming services like Netflix. Also, those VPNs have low scores in the other article because they failed to respond to our survey, not necessarily because they have poor security/privacy practices.

      Best,

      Paul

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