Canada is home to many lovely things — but unfortunately, affordable Canadian phone plans are not among them. In fact, according to a 2021 study by the research firm Rewheel, Canadian wireless prices are the highest in the world.
Canadian wireless prices add to an already pricey problem for businesses. According to Oxford Economics, the average business pays $66 USD a month for each employee it has on a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) program. And while phones are essential to conducting business today, those costs quickly add up.
To lower their costs, some businesses opt for a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service. A VoIP phone service routes calls through an internet connection rather than a traditional carrier. VoIP services make it far more flexible and cost-efficient for businesses to add a business line to their employees’ mobile phones.
One of the most well-known VoIP providers is Google Voice. Below, we’ll walk you through how to set up Google Voice in Canada and explore other affordable options to support your business phone needs in Canada.
Is Google Voice available in Canada?
Google Voice’s business plan is currently only available in Canada to Google Workspace customers. As long as you’re a Google Workspace customer, though, you can sign up for Google Voice and assign Canadian numbers (those with a +1 country code) to your Google Voice users.
Can I get a free Google Voice number in Canada?
Unfortunately, Google Voice’s free plan — which is meant exclusively for personal use — isn’t available in Canada.
While some individuals have found crafty ways to get a free Google Voice phone number in Canada, doing so isn’t exactly easy — for two main reasons.
First of all, during the sign-up process (via web or the Google Voice app for iOS or Android), Google Voice checks the location of your IP address. If you’re trying to sign up from a Canadian IP address, Google Voice blocks the sign-up process altogether:
The second roadblock you’ll encounter: As part of the sign-up process, Google Voice will ask you for a US-based landline or cell phone number to route calls to and verify your account.
Screenshot sourced from YouTube.
Keep in mind that you also won’t be able to get a local Canadian number to any area code in the country if you attempt to sign up for a free account. Google Voice’s free version also wasn’t built for businesses, so you won’t get phone menus, call recordings, and other key features.
If you need these features, you may consider opting for Google Voice’s paid plan (or an alternative service — which we’ll get to as well!).
How to get Google Voice in Canada
To sign up for a paid Google Voice plan in Canada, you’ll need to start by signing up for a Google Workspace account (if you don’t already have one).
Google Workspace provides companies with a host of business services, including Google cloud storage and custom email addresses. The cheapest plan, the “Business Starter,” costs $7.80 CAD per user per month.
Once you’ve gotten Google Workspace set up for you and the employees who will need business numbers, you can sign up for Google Voice for Google Workspace.
How much does Google Voice for Google Workspace cost?
There are three pricing plans available for Google Voice for Google Workspace.
- The Starter Plan costs $10 USD per user per month. With this plan, you can only assign numbers to a maximum of 10 users.
- The Standard Plan can be used with an unlimited number of users, and will cost you $20 USD per user per month.
- The Premier plan, which lets you assign numbers to users across multiple international locations, will cost you $30 USD per user per month.
Compared to Google Workspace, they charge in USD for Google Voice. With exchange rates, the total you pay between Google Workspace and Google Voice can vary month to month.
What other restrictions are there to Google Voice in Canada?
Unfortunately, even if you opt for the paid Google Voice for Google Workspace plans, there are a couple of other limitations that come with using Google Voice in Canada.
Google Voice doesn’t support texting in Canada
If texting is a frequent part of your business communication, you may want to think twice before signing up for Google Voice. Across all three of Google Voice’s pricing plans, unlimited messaging is limited to the United States — and only available in the US for any Voice accounts linked to a Google Workspace.
If you’re using the personal version of Google Voice, you can text numbers outside of the United States. However, you’ll have to add credits to your account, as these text messages are not included in the free plan.
Google Voice can’t provide you with toll-free numbers (Canadian or otherwise)
If you’re expanding into new territories, having a toll-free number can encourage new clients to phone you regardless of long-distance calling prices. Unfortunately, Google Voice doesn’t allow you to set up toll-free numbers on its platform.
Google Voice is only available in a limited number of countries
Even though Google Voice for Google Workspace works in Canada, many companies these days have employees scattered all over the globe. At the moment, though, Google Voice for Google Workspace only provides support for 14 countries.
If anyone on your team lives outside of the 14 countries supported by Google Voice for Google Workspace, you won’t be able to provide them with a business line. In that case, you may be stuck finding another alternative for them — or you could simply find a single solution that works for everyone in your company.
The best Google Voice alternative in Canada: OpenPhone
Fortunately, you don’t have to choose between an expensive wireless plan or Google Voice. We know, because we built the alternative — a modern business phone system that’s affordable, flexible, and built to support users worldwide.
The most cost-effective business phone solution
OpenPhone’s Standard plan costs $13 USD per user per month. Unlike Google Voice’s $10 Starter plan ($16 total with Google Workspace) , OpenPhone’s Standard plan comes with:
- Free phone calls and texts to the US and Canada
- One free Canadian, US, or North American toll-free number per user
- Availability of toll-free numbers
- Free porting of existing numbers from other carriers onto OpenPhone
- Phone numbers that can be shared across multiple users
- Call recording
Several of those features (including shared numbers and call recording) would cost you an extra $10 per user per month with Google Voice. Others — like free texting in Canada and free porting of numbers — aren’t available on Google Voice at all.
Save time communicating and building customer relationships
When Google Voice first launched, it was mainly intended for personal use. OpenPhone, on the other hand, has been custom-built for businesses from day one.
This means that — whether you’re a solopreneur, small business, or an enterprise of hundreds — OpenPhone’s features go far beyond providing you with just a phone number.
With OpenPhone, you can:
- Use internal threads to chat with team members behind the scenes, without leaving the flow of your communication with clients
- Provide more context to your team with notes and custom properties
- Share contacts, voicemails, and messages across your teams as needed
- Get creative with your texts using saved message templates, auto-replies, group messaging, and GIFs
- Save time with automatic voicemail transcription and seamless call forwarding
- Set up a phone menu to direct callers in a phone tree
- Connect OpenPhone to the tools you’re already using in your business — including Slack, Salesforce, HubSpot, and over 4,000 pre-existing Zapier integrations
- Get insight into your usage with data and analytics
We know that a phone is far more than just a communication tool for businesses, so we built our platform to support those needs.
Work from anywhere
With OpenPhone, you don’t have to worry about securing a VPN or US-based SIM card. Instead, you (and your teams) can simply get a Canadian or US phone number regardless of where you live in the world — all you need is WiFi.
This lets you make and receive calls from virtually anywhere in the world with no roaming fees, and we offer affordable international calls and texts outside of the US and Canada.
Get up and running with OpenPhone in Canada
If you’re ready for a business phone that works seamlessly in Canada (and the US, and virtually everywhere else), get started with a free, seven-day trial of OpenPhone. If you love it, you can start with a brand new number or port your existing number over to us for free.
Kenza is a freelance writer who covers B2B SaaS, the future of work, and psychology. Away from her keyboard, you can find her running, biking, and enjoying live music.