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Google Voice in Canada: How to use it and key limitations

Google Voice Canada

Canada is home to many lovely things — but unfortunately, affordable Canadian phone plans are not among them. According to a 2021 study by the research firm Rewheel, Canadian wireless prices are the highest in the world.

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.

Starting calling in Canada with OpenPhone

You can obtain a Canadian phone number with OpenPhone in three simple steps:

  1. Sign up for an account with OpenPhone — when you sign up, you can try out OpenPhone free for seven days.
  2. During signup, select your city or area code in the US or Canada to pick your phone number or select a North American toll-free number.
  3. Verify your account with an existing phone number and a credit card.

You now have a virtual phone number. If you run into any issues during the signup process, fill out this form to reach our support team

    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 the 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:

    Google Voice Canada: Message that confirms Google Voice's free version isn't available when you attempt to sign up on their website.

    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. 

    Google Voice Canada: Needing to verify Google Voice's free account during signup using a landline or mobile US number.

    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 a Google Voice number in Canada

    Here is the step-by-step process to sign up for a paid Google Voice plan in Canada.

    Step 1: Sign 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 $9.36 CAD per user per month.

    Google Workspace pricing Canada

    Once you’ve set up Google Workspace for you and the employees who will need business numbers, you can sign up for Google Voice for Google Workspace.

    Step 2: Select a Google Voice plan

    Google Voice offers various plans, including higher-tiered options with additional business phone features. Choose the plan that best suits your needs (keep in mind all Voice plans are billed in USD): 

    • Starter: Costs $10 USD per user per month and lets you make unlimited calls to the US and Canada (from US and Canadian numbers only), get voicemail transcriptions with incoming messages, and forward calls
    • Standard: Costs $20 USD per user per month and unlocks ring groups, multi-level auto attendants, and the option to record specific calls
    • Premier: Costs $30 USD per user per month and gets you automatic call recording and advanced reporting through BigQuery

    Step 3: Assign phone numbers 

    Once your payment is processed and your plan is activated, you can assign numbers to your team members and start integrating Google Voice with your other Google products.

    4 major restrictions to Google Voice in Canada

    Unfortunately, even if you opt for the paid Google Voice for Google Workspace plans, a couple of other limitations come with using Google Voice in Canada.

    1. 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 the United States. However, you’ll have to add credits to your account, as these text messages are not included in the free plan.

    2. 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 offer toll-free numbers on its platform.

    3. Google Voice doesn’t support a fully remote, globally-distributed workforce

    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 remote phone system that works for everyone in your company.

    4. Google Voice won’t enable you to work as a team

    Google Voice technically has business plans that can potentially work for solopreneurs. However, if you’re looking to work together on responses and split responsibility for incoming calls and messages, you’ll want to go with another platform, as Google Voice lacks team collaboration features such as shared numbers, internal threads, and call routing. 

    Google Voice also only integrates with other Google apps like Calendar, so you can’t connect it to other tools such as customer relationship management (CRM), project management, or workflow automation software.

    The best Google Voice alternative in Canada: OpenPhone

    OpenPhone pricing

    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.

    OpenPhone’s Starter plan costs $15 USD per user per month, and you can sign up from almost anywhere in the world, including Canada. Unlike Google Voice’s $10 Starter plan ($16 total with Google Workspace), OpenPhone’s Starter plan comes with free phone calls and texts to the US and Canada, toll-free numbers, shared numbers, and more. 

    Here’s a closer look at what you can do with OpenPhone: 

    • Chat with team members behind the scenes using internal threads, getting information without leaving the flow of your communication with clients
    • Provide more context to your team with notes and custom properties
    • 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
    • Control your call flow by setting up a phone menu to direct callers to their destination more efficiently
    • Connect OpenPhone to the tools you’re already using in your business — including Slack, Salesforce, HubSpot, and over 5,000+ pre-existing Zapier integrations
    • Get insight into your usage with data and call analytics

    Get up and running with OpenPhone in Canada

    OpenPhone on iOS and mac

    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.

    Google Voice Canada FAQs

    Can Google Voice port a Canadian number?

    Yes, you can port a Canadian number to Google Voice for free on a paid business plan. Plans start at $10 USD per month, in addition to a Google Workspace subscription. Just keep in mind that toll-free numbers aren’t supported and can’t be ported to Google Voice at all.

    Are there any benefits to using Google Voice in Canada?

    There are some benefits that you can get with any virtual business phone system, such as voicemail transcriptions, ring groups, phone menus, call recording, and the ability to use your phone anywhere as long as you have WiFi. However, other virtual phone systems, such as OpenPhone, give you more bang for your buck by giving you dozens of ways to save time over texting and to collaborate using shared phone numbers.

    How much does Google Voice for Google Workspace cost?

    Three pricing plans are 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 (which is charged in CAD), they charge in USD for Google Voice. With exchange rates, the total you pay between Google Workspace and Google Voice can vary from month to month. 

    Can I use Google Voice to text in Canada?

    No, messaging is only available for Google Voice accounts in the US. 

    Why doesn’t Google Voice work in Canada?

    It does technically work if you can get past common issues that cause Google Voice to not work, such as incoming call problems. The personal, free version of Google Voice is available only in the United States. There are paid business plans available for Google Voice in Canada.

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