Is It Safe to Torrent in Canada?

Is it Safe to Torrent in Canada

Torrenting is quite popular in Canada. But in recent years, it’s been getting more and more risky.

In this article, we’ll tell you why it’s not so safe to torrent in Canada these days, go over some of the dangers and penalties, and also show you how to stay protected when torrenting in Canada.

Is it Safe to Torrent in Canada? Risks of Torrenting in Canada

When it comes to torrenting, not all countries (or their laws, at least) are created equally. There’s a kind of spectrum, from “torrent away!” to “you better be careful!” And Canada falls somewhere near the “careful” end. Let’s see why.

Data retention laws for ISPs (and VPNs)

Canadian internet service providers are required by law to keep logs of everything you download and every site you visit for at least six months. Yikes.

And some judges have even ruled that authorities don’t even require a warrant to access those logs.

Did we mention this applies to Canadian VPNs too? And as we’ve covered before, logging is one of the biggest no-no’s for a VPN. It makes true privacy and safety when torrenting impossible.

Lawsuits and fines for torrenting

Thousands of Canadians have been sued for torrenting copyrighted content since 2018 alone, with payouts as high as $5,000.

Through the Copyright Modernization Act, internet service providers flag IP addresses that illegally download content – and then studios sue the person associated with the IP, even if they don’t know exactly who it is.

In other words, you do NOT want to be caught torrenting on your own IP address. We’ll show you how to hide it below.

Member of Five Eyes

Canada’s invasive and anti-privacy surveillance isn’t much of a surprise. After all, they are a member of the Five Eyes, the intelligence alliance that also includes the US, UK, Australia, and New Zealand.

This is relevant to torrenting as well, since the most aggressive copyright trolls come from the US – and Canada has shown they’re willing to allow lawsuits against Canadians for torrenting American content. Though they do place limits on the amounts that torrenters can be sued for.

How to Stay Safe When Torrenting in Canada

As always, a virtual private network (or VPN) is one of the easiest and most effective ways to protect yourself when torrenting.

It’ll protect your online activity from your ISP and third parties through changing your IP address and encrypting your traffic, meaning they can no longer log your torrenting. And it’ll be a lot harder to connect your browsing or download history to your real identity.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re in Canada, China, or some other country – using a VPN is just a good idea. That being said, there are some specific things to keep in mind when choosing a VPN to use in Canada.

1. You want a VPN that’s NOT based in Canada, since Canadian-based VPNs still have to keep logs. In fact, it’s even better if its based in a non-Five Eyes country with more favorable privacy laws.

2. Look for a no-logs VPN that includes something called a "kill switch". This will shut off your connection (and torrent) automatically if your VPN protection drops, so your real IP address won't be leaked.

3. Preferably, the VPN will also have a decent number of servers in both Canada and the rest of North America. That’ll keep your connection fast and also make it more convenient to access local websites.

If you need help finding a virtual private network that fits that criteria, we’ve recommend one below that fits all of these criteria. 

Best Torrenting VPN for Canada

PIA Canada VPN

Private Internet Access (PIA)

Our top pick for Canadian users is PIA VPN, and here are some reasons why:

  • Prices start as low as $2.03 per month
  • Based outside of Canada and doesn’t keep logs
  • Servers in Ontario, Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver, along with all 50 US states
  • P2P and torrenting friendly
  • Built-in kill switch

See our full PIA torrenting review if you'd like to learn more. 

Is it Safe to Torrent in Canada? Wrap-Up

Hopefully, this article has been helpful in teaching Canadians and non-Canadians alike the risks of torrenting in Canada and how to avoid them.

While a VPN isn’t foolproof, it will be able to hide your IP address and torrenting activity from your internet service provider and other snoops.

December 23, 2022

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