VPNs encrypt your network traffic, enabling you to browse the internet safely, without your activities being monitored by hackers, network administrators, or your Internet Service Provider (ISP). ISPs have a history of lowering the speeds of users who stream frequently, but since they can’t tell exactly what you’re doing when using a VPN, throttling becomes more difficult to justify.
There’s another benefit to streaming with a VPN, though: they allow you to access geo-blocked services from other countries. When you connect to a VPN server, you’re assigned a temporary, region-specific IP address. Since many streaming platforms consult your IP address to check if you’re in their broadcast area, gaining access becomes extremely simple with a VPN.
How to watch Canadian TV from abroad with a VPN
New to VPNs and unsure how to get started? Just follow the steps below to bypass geo-restrictions and watch Canadian TV from anywhere in the world:
- First, choose a suitable VPN provider (we recommend ExpressVPN).
- Download and install the VPN app, taking care to get the right version for your device.
- Use your credentials to log into the app.
- Connect to one of your VPN’s Canadian servers.
- Try loading video on your chosen site. It should begin playing almost immediately, but if not, try clearing your browser’s cache and deleting any cookies.
If you’re looking to watch a particular show live, we strongly recommend trying out the steps above before it airs. This way, if your VPN doesn’t work as intended, you’ll still have time to contact customer support and might not have to miss anything.
GET A PREMIUM VPN FOR FREE: Usually, VPNs save their best prices for long-term subscribers. However, if you only need coverage for a short time, for instance, if you’re going on vacation or just want to watch one particular event, you can use ExpressVPN’s free 30-day trial instead. You will have to pay upfront but can cancel at any time to receive a full refund. This effectively means you can get a high-quality VPN for free, with no risk whatsoever.
Choosing the right VPN for streaming Canadian TV
It’s often difficult for novices to decide which VPN to use. After all, there are so many choices and each service is slightly different. For example, some offer larger networks, while others focus on providing the fastest speeds or the strongest security features. To find the best VPNs for watching Canadian TV abroad, we looked for those that met the following criteria:
- Can unblock popular Canadian services like CBC, TVA, and Sportsnet
- Has an extensive network, ideally with multiple Canadian servers
- Uses powerful encryption and includes various other security features
- Logs no personally identifiable information, or better still, keeps no logs at all
- Has good multi-platform support with minimal functional difference between the desktop and mobile apps
Below, we’ve listed the best VPNs for streaming Canadian TV abroad:
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
ExpressVPN is fast enough to stream live HD video with no noticeable buffering, and with more than 2,000 servers worldwide, you’re all but guaranteed a low-latency connection. What’s more, this service can unblock major streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video from abroad. With server clusters in Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver, you can even use ExpressVPN to bypass regional NHL blackouts.
This VPN uses 256-bit encryption to keep your online activities private. It also features DNS and IPv6 leak protection, perfect forward secrecy, and a kill switch in its desktop apps that stops all traffic should you disconnect unexpectedly. ExpressVPN doesn’t log any information that could identify you, and it’s possible to register almost completely anonymously by paying with Bitcoin. If you need any help, you can contact customer support over live chat, 24/7.
ExpressVPN includes apps for Windows, Linux, MacOS, Android, and iOS devices. Wireless routers have to be configured manually, but ExpressVPN provides custom firmware that makes this as easy as possible.
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Read our full review of ExpressVPN.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
NordVPN currently has 346 servers in Canada alone, and around 5,000 elsewhere. It’s fast enough to stream HD or 4K content without interruption, allows up to six simultaneous connections, and offers dedicated P2P and anti-DDoS servers. Further, this service can bypass geo-blocking on even the most stubborn streaming platforms. It can easily unblock services like Netflix, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer, so CTV and similar Canadian TV streams won’t pose a problem.
This VPN is highly customizable and gives you everything you need to fine-tune your online security. It uses 256-bit encryption and protects against WebRTC, DNS, and IPv6 leaks by default. You can use two VPNs at once, access Tor with a VPN, and block ads or malware automatically. NordVPN has a no-logs policy and allows you to pay in Bitcoin. This means that if you use a disposable email address to register, you’ll be almost completely untraceable.
This service has Linux, MacOS, Windows, Android, and iOS apps. Manual installation is required for network routers.
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Read our full review of NordVPN.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
Surfshark provides access to 1,000+ servers in more than 60 countries (Canada included). With generally consistent speeds and exceptional unblocking ability, this service makes it easy to stream Canadian TV abroad; it even works with stubborn services like TSN. One of this VPN’s standout features is that it has no connection limit. This means that, unlike with many of its rivals, Surfshark allows you to secure every device you own.
This service is no slouch when it comes to security either. There’s 256-bit encryption, WebRTC, DNS, and IPv6 leak protection, and a kill switch built-in, as well as an automatic ad-blocker and malware-scanner. Surfshark doesn’t log any information that could be traced back to you but if you’re looking for even greater privacy, you can pay in Bitcoin, Ripple, or Ethereum. Need help? Support is available over live chat and email, 24/7.
Surfshark comes with apps for Windows, Linux, MacOS, iOS, and Android. It can even manually configured for use with supported internet routers.
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Read our full review of Surfshark.
Money-back guarantee: 45 DAYS
CyberGhost makes it as easy as possible to stay safe online. You can choose one of its nearly 3,000 servers (69 in Canada) directly, or instead, choose a task (like accessing geo-blocked streams or file-sharing safely) and have a suitable server assigned. With high speeds and up to seven simultaneous connections permitted, this service is ideal for users looking to protect all of their devices with minimal configuration required.
Despite its user-friendly design, CyberGhost offers a range of security features. Your traffic is safeguarded by 256-bit encryption, a kill switch (in both the mobile and desktop versions), as well as IPv6, DNS, port forwarding, and WebRTC leak protection. This service doesn’t log any information that could be traced back to you.
CyberGhost has apps for Android, iOS, Windows, and MacOS. It can be manually installed on Linux-based platforms and internet routers.
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Read our full review of CyberGhost.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
IPVanish is well-known for its high speeds and excellent multi-platform support. It offers access to more than 1,100 servers around the world, with 35 in Canada alone. It’s a particularly strong choice if you’d like to protect multiple devices, since it permits up to ten simultaneous connections while most of its rivals allow between three and six.
This VPN uses 256-bit encryption, DNS and IPv6 leak protection, and a kill switch (in all versions of the software) to protect your traffic from prying eyes. It enables users to obfuscate OpenVPN traffic, switch IP addresses at preset intervals, and block all local traffic. IPVanish doesn’t keep any session or connection logs, so your activities cannot be traced back to you. This make is a popular VPN for torrenting and for Kodi. Customer support is ready to help via live chat, 24/7.
IPVanish apps are available for Android, Windows, iOS, MacOS, and Amazon Fire devices. Linux systems and some network routers are also supported via manual configuration.
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Read our full review of IPVanish.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
PrivateVPN has two Canadian servers (one in Toronto and one in Vancouver) and around 80 elsewhere. What it lacks in network size, however, it more than makes up for in speed; PrivateVPN is fast enough to stream live HD video with no issues whatsoever. Further, it can unblock some of the most popular streaming platforms in Canada including US Netflix, TVA, and Sportsnet Now.
PrivateVPN protects against DNS, IPv6, and WebRTC leaks, and keeps your activities hidden behind 256-bit encryption. It also has a strict no-logging policy, so if you pay in Bitcoin and use a throwaway email to register, you’ll be almost completely anonymous online. PrivateVPN’s customer service is second to none; it offers 24/7 support over live chat and the staff can install or configure the software for you remotely (with your permission, of course).
This VPN comes with apps for Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android. It can be manually installed on Linux devices and supported wireless routers.
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Read our full review of PrivateVPN.
Can I watch Canadian TV abroad with a free VPN?
Although free VPNs can be tempting, we don’t recommend using one, particularly if you’d like to stream. These services tend to have small server networks with a constant influx of users. This causes major slowdowns, which manifest in slow browsing speeds and frequently stuttering video that takes a long time to buffer. Additionally, most free VPNs are unable to bypass geo-blocking on popular streaming services, so you may not be able to watch anything.
Free VPNs have to pay for their networks somehow, but as they don’t charge their users directly, they find other ways to make money. You’ll almost always find that they’re ad-supported, which is nothing new. The problem is that some use tracking cookies to profit from their users in a different way. These cookies allow a company to keep tabs on which sites you visit and how often. This data can form a detailed consumer profile to be sold to third parties.
Unless you’re familiar with the ins and outs of computer networking, it can be difficult to tell if you’re even using a legitimate VPN or not. A 2015 survey of 283 free VPN apps found that over 38% included malware, and of the ones that didn’t, 84% leaked data over IPv6. Worse, 18% never even encrypted user traffic at all. Even well-known services come with risks, as we found during the Hola botnet scandal.
The best way to protect yourself online is to use a reputable VPN that logs no personally identifiable information and has a history of standing up for its users’ privacy.
Related: How to get a Canadian IP address
Which Canadian channels and services can I use with a VPN?
If you usually live in Canada but are currently abroad, there’s very little you can’t access with a VPN. If asked to, simply login with your cable provider details and you’ll be able to start streaming immediately. CTV, CityTV, Space, and Sportsnet all have online live streams that you can access abroad in this way.
Don’t have cable TV? There’s still plenty of Canadian content to watch on platforms like CHCH, CP24, TVA, and CBC. These streams are free-to-watch and don’t require you to create an account, but they usually are geo-blocked, meaning you’ll still have to use a VPN in order to watch.
Additionally, some streaming services, including Netflix, have different content libraries for different countries, so if you’re traveling and find that something you wanted to watch isn’t available, you can just connect to a VPN and see if it’s in your usual country’s library.
How else can a VPN help me?
If you travel frequently, you can use VPNs for more than just streaming. For example, if you log into your RBS, Bank of Montreal (BMO), or CIBC bank account from a different country, you run the risk of tripping automated fraud prevention systems. However, if you connect to a Canadian server first, this is much less likely.
Travelling can actually create problems using your usual services. You could find yourself unable to place bets on your usual gambling site due to geo-locking, or end up locked out of your favorite games due to a new login in a foreign country. VPNs not only help reduce the risk of this happening, but allow you to protect yourself when using public wifi networks.
See also: Best VPN for Canada
- 1 How to watch Canadian TV from abroad with a VPN
- 2 Choosing the right VPN for streaming Canadian TV
- 3 1. ExpressVPN
- 4 2. NordVPN
- 5 3. Surfshark
- 6 4. CyberGhost
- 7 5. IPVanish
- 8 6. PrivateVPN
- 9 Can I watch Canadian TV abroad with a free VPN?
- 10 Which Canadian channels and services can I use with a VPN?
- 11 How else can a VPN help me?