Whether you want a VPN for torrenting, accessing streaming content such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu, or protecting your privacy from snooping Canadian internet providers, we’ve rounded up 5 of the best.
We’ll also cover some Virtual Private Networks to avoid and explain why.
We’ll tell you how and why we chose the best VPNs for Canada below, but if you don’t want to read on, here are our top picks:
These are the 5 best VPN service providers for Canada:
- NordVPN Our top recommendation for Canada. Offers top-notch security, exceptionally high speeds, and fantastic unblocking ability, plus a 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Surfshark This highly affordable provider works great in Canada, allows any number of connections, and unblocks a ton of popular services. Keeps no logs.
- ExpressVPN Robust security, unblocks most major streaming sites like Netflix, and provides consistently fast speeds.
- CyberGhost Unblocks major streaming services while offering great security and fast servers.
- PrivateVPN Fast speeds and can unblock pretty much anything, including US Netflix and Canadian Netflix from abroad.
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There are hundreds of VPNs, however not all are trustworthy and dependable. In this article, we’ll review the best VPNs for Canada based on the following criteria:
- The VPN provider is not incorporated in any Five Eyes country
- The VPN must not log any identifying information about how you use the service, including online activity and your real IP address
- Strong, up-to-date encryption standards
- Fast, reliable connection speeds
- DNS leak protection
- Allows P2P filesharing
- Great for streaming (Netflix, Amazon Video, BBC, Hulu etc)
See also: How to watch Canadian TV abroad
Best VPNs for Canada
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
NordVPN boasts a true zero-logs policy, meaning it doesn’t even record metadata about how you use the VPN service. It also features military-grade encryption, DNS leak protection, and a kill switch that halts all internet traffic in the event of a dropped connection. The company is incorporated in Panama, which has no mandatory data retention laws. Law enforcement has even confiscated NordVPN servers in the past to no avail–there was nothing there to find.
NordVPN sports a large VPN network of over 5,000 servers around the world. Further, it’s the fastest service we’ve tested, making it perfect for streaming video and downloading large files. You can also choose from servers specialized for certain scenarios, including double VPN, Tor over VPN, and ultra-fast streaming. NordVPN can unblock US Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and BBC iPlayer, among others.
Apps are available for Windows, Linux, MacOS, iOS, and Android.
NordVPN speed test data
|Average Connection Speed - North America (USA)||111.7 Mbps|
|Average Connection Speed - Europe (UK)||122.3 Mbps|
|Average Connection Speed - Asia (Hong Kong)||112.0 Mbps|
- Fastest VPN around
- Unblocks a wide variety of popular streaming platforms
- Strong encryption and no user logs make for top security and privacy
- Allows 6 simultaneous connections on one account
- Desktop apps can be sluggish at times
BEST VPN FOR CANADA:NordVPN is our #1 pick.. This no-logs service boasts rock-solid security and blazing fast connection speeds, plus it works reliably in Canada. Still not sure? Try it risk-free thanks to NordVPN’s 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full NordVPN review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
Surfshark is a newer provider with a smaller server network, but it’s a great option for those in Canada who want to unblock region-locked content from abroad. That includes US Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video, among others. Best of all, Surfshark stands out by letting you connect as many devices as you want—no limits on simultaneous connections.
Surfshark uses strong encryption and keeps no connection logs. A kill switch in the app prevents unencrypted traffic from leaking onto your network if the VPN connection falters. 24/7 live chat support is available.
Apps are available for Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, and Linux.
Surfshark speed test data
|Average Connection Speed - North America (USA)||170 Mbps|
|Average Connection Speed - Europe (UK)||230 Mbps|
|Average Connection Speed - Asia (Hong Kong)||220 Mbps|
- Unblocks Netflix US, UK, and others
- Offers 24/7 live chat
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- Server network coverage is smaller than most other VPNs
- Some slow download speeds
BEST BUDGET VPN:Unblock Netflix and other region-locked sites on all the desktop and mobile devices in your household for a very low price. Surfshark even comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full Surfshark review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
ExpressVPN is incorporated in the British Virgin Islands which, in case you were wondering, is an independent country not within the UK’s jurisdiction. It boasts best-in-class data security standards including 256-bit AES encryption, 4,096-bit RSA keys, SHA256 authentication, and perfect forward secrecy. It logs some non-identifying metadata like what date (not time) you used the VPN service and how long you used it for, but does not record what you do online or your IP address.
ExpressVPN servers are all optimized for maximum speed, and there are a lot of them–over 3,000 in 94 countries. It also comes packed with a kill switch–dubbed “network lock” in ExpressVPN parlance–and DNS leak protection. The provider can unblock geo-restricted content and streaming sites that most other VPNs can’t get at, including Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Amazon Prime Video, and BBC iPlayer.
Apps are available for Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Linux, and certain wifi routers.
ExpressVPN speed test data
|Average Connection Speed - North America (USA)||135.7 Mbps|
|Average Connection Speed - Europe (UK)||134 Mbps|
|Average Connection Speed - Asia (Hong Kong)||136 Mbps|
- Best for use inside Canada or for accessing Canadian sites from abroad
- Headquartered outside of the Five Eyes and offers strong user data protections and excellent security
- Over 3,000 super-fast servers operating in over 90 countries
- No internet usage logs are retained
- Not the cheapest in this list
- Doesn’t offer much control over advanced features
FAST AND VERSATILE:ExpressVPN is great for Canada. It has vast server network coverage that is optimized for high-speed secure connections, plus it’s hard to beat on privacy and online security. Also offers a 30-day no-quibbles money-back guarantee.
Read our full ExpressVPN review.
Money-back guarantee: 45 DAYS
CyberGhost was originally developed in Germany and later relocated to Romania. Recently, however, CyberGhost was acquired by an Israeli firm registered in the UK, a member of the five eyes. This might be cause for concern for some users, but the company says it plans to remain a standalone company in Romania. On top of that, it maintains a strict no-logs policy. Even registration details aren’t registered, and new subscribers are instead given an anonymous user ID.
CyberGhost VPN offers a large and fast selection of servers, which you can select from based not only on location, but on how you plan to use it. Those uses include unblocking Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Amazon Prime Video. The VPN utilizes 256-bit AES encryption and SHA256 authentication. DNS and IPv6 leak protection ensure that web requests are not sent outside the VPN tunnel. A kill switch can be enabled to halt all traffic in case the connection unexpectedly drops. Users can enable a selection of other useful features as well, including HTTPS redirect, tracker blocking, and app binding.
Apps are available for Windows, MacOS, iOS, Linux and Android. Subscribers can connect up to seven devices at the same time.
CyberGhost speed test data
|Average Connection Speed - North America (USA)||78.7 Mbps|
|Average Connection Speed - Europe (UK)||54.7 Mbps|
|Average Connection Speed - Asia (Hong Kong)||39.3 Mbps|
- Reliable, low-cost choice for Canada
- We found their apps easy to install and use
- No issues unblocking US Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and more
- Testing revealed impressive server speeds
- Torrenting and P2P won’t work on all servers
- Few customizable options
Read our full CyberGhost VPN review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
PrivateVPN is a newcomer to the VPN scene, but it can square off with the big boys regarding both speed and security. The company is based in Sweden, which does have some mandatory data retention laws, but is not a part of the Five Eyes. In any case, the company adheres to a no-logs policy to ensure that it has nothing to hand over in the event of a court order to do so. The level of encryption depends on whether you use the TAP or TUN interface with OpenVPN. TAP uses 128-bit AES and TUN uses 256-bit encryption; both are effectively uncrackable but the latter is technically more secure. You’ll also get perfect forward secrecy, a kill switch, and IPv6 and DNS leak protection baked right in.
The number of countries is a bit limited right now but growing rapidly. Download and upload VPN speeds were excellent in our tests. PrivateVPN has unblocked everything we’ve thrown at it so far, including Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and Amazon Prime Video.
Apps are available for Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android.
PrivateVPN speed test data
|Average Connection Speed - North America (USA)||94 Mbps|
|Average Connection Speed - Europe (UK)||56.7 Mbps|
|Average Connection Speed - Asia (Hong Kong)||61.7 Mbps|
- Another low-cost option for Canadians
- Operated from Sweden which is outside of the Five Eyes
- Strong security and privacy features and stable speeds
- Small but growing network of server locations
- Live chat is not around the clock
GREAT SPEED:PrivateVPN is a good family choice Allows up to 6 devices. Easy to use with excellent privacy and high download speeds. It also unblocks most streaming sites and is suitable for torrenting. Lacks 24/7 support. 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full PrivateVPN review.
Why use a VPN in Canada?
When we think of online surveillance, the first image that comes to mind is probably an American one. Ever since Edward Snowden uncovered the National Security Agency’s PRISM program and other covert operations, the US has been at the center of the debate around topics like mass surveillance, bulk interception, encryption, and government-backed online spying.
The US is prominent in this debate because it got caught and because it’s a big country with a lot of economic and military power. But it’s far from the only country to employ the sorts of surveillance that toe–and sometimes cross–the line between national security and overreach into the lives of ordinary citizens a la 1984‘s Big Brother. One of those countries is Canada, thanks in large part to the 2015 Anti-Terrorism Act that allowed intelligence agencies to gather and share information in much the same way as the NSA.
Canada is a member of the Five Eyes, an intelligence alliance also composed of the USA, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand. If you’re being monitored in Canada, there’s a good chance whatever information is collected about you is accessible to intelligence agencies in those other countries.
The underlying problem with these laws and surveillance programs is that they gather information on people regardless of whether that person is a criminal or not, and they disproportionately affect certain groups of people such as reporters, activists, Muslims, and immigrants.
If you feel your privacy is being infringed upon, one of the best remedies is to start using a VPN. Short for Virtual Private Network, a VPN connection encrypts all of a device’s internet traffic and routes it through an intermediary server in a virtual location of your choosing. This prevents hackers, your ISP, and, yes, the Canadian government from monitoring what you do online.
All of the options in our list of the best VPNs for Canada will also protect your data when connected to public wi-fi. Unsecured wifi hotspots can allow hackers to intercept your internet traffic and carry out attacks. A VPN’s encryption will prevent this from happening.
See also: How to get a Canadian IP address
Can I unblock Netflix, Hulu, and HBO with a VPN?
Besides online privacy and security, VPN service providers offer another useful benefit: unblocking geo-locked sites and services. Whenever you connect to a VPN, your real IP address is masked by that of the VPN server. An IP address is a unique string of numbers and decimals that can be used to identify specific devices and their approximate location. So by changing your IP address to the US, for example, you can access content that’s normally restricted to US residents.
That includes the US catalog of shows on Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go, HBO Now, BBC iPlayer, and Amazon Prime Video. Unfortunately, many of these providers have caught onto this tactic and now block VPN connections. Only a handful of VPN providers are still able to unblock Netflix and Hulu in particular. From the list above, ExpressVPN, NordVPN, PrivateVPN, and CyberGhost will unblock US Netflix and Hulu as of time of writing. You may need to contact the VPN provider’s customer support to ask which specific servers to use, as not all of them will circumvent the VPN ban.
Are VPNs legal in Canada?
Yes, VPNs are 100 percent legal in Canada. There are no laws barring VPN use in any Canadian province.
It should go without saying that what you do while connected to the VPN is still your responsibility. We do not encourage or condone illegal or harmful behavior.
Can I use a free VPN for Canada?
We generally advise readers to avoid free VPN services. If security and online privacy are a concern to you, consider that free VPNs still need to make money somehow. To do this, they often record usage activity, insert advertisements into web pages, and inject tracking cookies into web browsers. This defeats the purpose of a VPN when it comes to privacy.
Free VPNs also tend to have a much more limited selection of server locations, waiting queues, user data caps, and bandwidth limits.
In some cases, shady free VPN apps have been known to spread malware. Some are expected of being honeypots for intelligence agencies and law enforcement.
VPNs that Canadians should avoid
There are many Canadian VPNs out there and we can’t cover all of them, but you may have come across a few in your search that should definitely be avoided.
PureVPN recently came under heavy scrutiny after the Hong Kong-based VPN handed over logs to American authorities that led to the arrest of one of its users. While we don’t condone the man’s behavior–he was charged with stalking–we also don’t condone logging from a supposedly log-less VPN. PureVPN says it only handed over IP addresses and timestamps to authorities, not actual records of online activity, but it was enough to land a user in jail. None of the Canada VPNs we recommend above log users’ real IP addresses.
Hola VPN isn’t a normal VPN. Instead, it uses a peer-to-peer browser extension with few centralized servers. That means your internet passes through other people’s households. A few years ago, Hola hijacked its users computers without their consent to create a massive botnet army. It went on to use that army to carry out distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks and distribute pirated media.
When it comes to free VPN service providers, 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 Canadian 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 been 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 for torrenting will prevent ISPs and copyright trolls from monitoring P2P filesharing activity and tracing it back to you.
VPN for Canada FAQ
How can I watch CBC outside of Canada?
Here's how to watch CBC from abroad:
- Sign up for one of the VPNs recommended above.
- Download and install the VPN app onto the device that you want to stream CBC on.
- Open the VPN app and select a server in Canada
- Connect to the VPN server.
- Open the CBC website or app and start watching!
How do I stream Sportsnet to my TV?
You can get the Sportsnet app for some smart TVs, Apple TV, Android TV, Xbox, PS4, Amazon Fire TV, and Chromecast. It's available on the Apple App Store, Google Play and Amazon app store.
Is there free WiFi in Canada and is it safe?
Yes, there's plenty of free wi-fi in Canada. But it's best not to assume it's safe. Open wi-fi internet connections are prone to hackers because they often don't authenticate users with a username and password. On top of that, hackers can set up honeypot wi-fi hotspots to lure users into connecting, then intercept everything that passes through the connection. A VPN encrypts internet traffic so that anything a hacker intercepts can't be deciphered.
How is a VPN different from a proxy server?
A VPN that connects to the internet is, technically, a type of proxy. “Proxy” is a general term used to describe any service that routes your internet connection through a remote intermediary server. But compared to most other types of proxies, a VPN is much more secure. A VPN is a proxy that includes encryption and should protect all forms of internet traffic, including HTTP, DNS, WebRTC, FTP, and BitTorrent, among others.
Note that not all VPNs are proxies. The sort of business VPN a remote employee might use to securely access office apps and documents probably doesn’t route traffic to the internet as well. But most consumer VPNs used for privacy and unblocking, such as those we recommend in this article, function as encrypted proxies to the web.
Can I connect to a VPN server located in Canada to access Canada-only content?
Yes! All of the VPNs we recommend have servers in Canada that you can use to access and stream TV shows, movies, and other content that is normally exclusive to residents of Canada. That includes Crave TV, TSN, and CTV, among others.
NordVPN, for example, operates 480+ servers in Vancouver, Montreal, and Toronto.
What is the best VPN for when I'm traveling outside of Canada?
NordVPN is equally well-suited whether you’re in Canada or traveling abroad. It can unblock Canadian streaming sites like Netflix, Crave TV, TSN, CBC, and more from other countries. You get ample security and speed, with 480+ servers in three Canadian cities: Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal.
Where can I find the NordVPN server list for Canada?
You can find a list of NordVPN’s servers in Canada here. They are located in Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver.