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Where Is Your Best Off-The-Grid Location?

family in the countryBoth the United States and Canada offer a lot of opportunities for off-the-grid living. There are vast rural areas in both countries, where families can easily homestead and hide from society. So which country is a better place to go off the grid?

Well, Canada is colder, but it has far more empty wilderness to hide in. Some of these wilderness areas, such as Northern Ontario and much of Quebec, are fairly close to large urban areas such as Toronto in case you have to work.

Even though Northern Ontario has some rough winters, it is a good place to grow crops, its streams and lakes are full of fish, and its forests are full game. There are also lots of running streams for hydroelectric power and lots of trees for firewood. Living off the land and the grid in Northern Ontario is perfectly doable; in fact, my ancestors did it for generations.

Physically homesteading in some parts of Canada, such as Quebec, Ontario, the Maritime Provinces, and British Columbia, would not be that different from homesteading in much of the United States. Nor is the culture that different; the basic lifestyle most Canadians live is much the same as in the United States. Even French Canadians have more in common with Minnesotans than Frenchmen. The big differences are political, and they are not that noticeable on a day-to-day basis.

US vs. Canadian Government

The big difference between the US and Canada is that the Canadian government has a lot more power and authority than the American government—at least on paper. Canada’s government, like Britain’s, is a parliamentary system in which there is no separation between the executive and legislative branches; Parliament writes the laws and runs the government. This makes for a far more centralized national government that has more power.

Practically, this means that laws can change faster in Canada than in the US. The government can implement sweeping changes and then take them away again after the next election. For example, the last liberal government in Canada ordered all guns in the nation registered. The next conservative government reversed the policy.

New Relocation Manual Helps Average Americans Get Out Of Harms Way Before The Coming Crisis

Canada also has fewer constitutional limitations on government than the US does. The government is free to put more restrictions on gun ownership, and the courts have broad powers to censor the press. There is a caveat though: the government has more legal power to interfere in the rights of citizens than in the US, yet its activities are restrained because it is a little more accountable to voters than the American government.

Even though the government is more powerful in Canada, it doesn’t seem to be more obtrusive in the lives of ordinary citizens than in the US. Practically, Americans and Canadians have about the same amount of freedom and legal protections. As in the US, government power in Canada is often irrationally and illogically used.

Residents of Canada have the same basic legal rights as Americans, such as trial by jury, representation by a lawyer, and protection from searches without warrants. As in the US, these rights are often violated by overzealous authorities.

So Which Nation Is Freer for Living Off the Grid?

In most practical respects, a person living off the grid in Canada won’t notice much difference in living off the grid in the US. You’ll still be able to grow your own food, own your own land, and generate your own electricity. As in the US, you will still have to worry about overzealous authorities.

For the average family living on a homestead, there won’t be much difference as long as they take care to avoid the government. As in the US, the level of government interference differs widely from area to area. If you take the time to trouble to find an area with little or no government, you should be pretty safe.

That means you’ll have to do some research, such as checking the local newspaper and talking to local people. Some regions of Canada, such as British Columbia, have a historic tolerance for alternative lifestyles. Try spending some time in an area and seeing what it’s really like.

Something to be aware of is that Canada, like Britain, has a long welfare state tradition. That means most Canadians will tolerate a higher level of governmental interference than Americans and expect government to control certain areas, such as health care.

Yes, Canada does have a national healthcare system, but despite what some Americans think, nobody is forced to participate in it. Instead, it is your choice whether you use the system, which is called Medicare, or not. That system could help some families be more self-sufficient, because it eliminates the need for private health insurance and pays for most medical services.

Healthcare in Canada is more bureaucratic and restricted; there are shortages of doctors, and it can be difficult to see a specialist. The stories about rich Canadians coming to the US to see specialists are true. A dirty secret about Canadian health care is that many wealthy Canadians use Medicare for most of their needs but run to the States the minute it won’t pay for something they need or want. Yet with Obamacare coming in, the differences between American and Canadian healthcare seem to disappearing.

There is a way to effectively opt-out of the coming health care nightmare…

In practical terms, the level of freedom for the average person in Canada and the average person in the US is about the same. The interesting question is which country will it be easier to survive a crisis or collapse in?

Which Country Is Safer?

My guess is that if some sort of nationwide collapse hits in the United States, it’ll bring Canada down too. The Canadian and American economies are joined at the hip; if one collapses, the other will come down. The effects of a large-scale collapse in Canada and the US will be pretty much the same.

So from that practical standpoint, the side of the border you live on won’t matter that much. In some ways, Canadian society will be more vulnerable, because Canadians seem to be more dependent on government for some services like healthcare. Yet vast numbers of Americans are also dependent on the government for those services.

The US has a higher crime rate and more ethnic diversity, which could make for more civil unrest. The greater availability of guns in the US is a double-edged sword: it gives American families more means to protect themselves, but it also means more guns for the bad guys to use on average people during a period of chaos.

Something else to remember is that the enforcement of Canadian gun laws is about as bad and uneven as the enforcement of American gun laws. That means there are large numbers of illegal and unregistered guns floating around in Canada. Therefore the chances for armed violence in the event of a large-scale collapse are just about as great in Canada.

Canadian police forces are also better organized (at least in Ontario) and more militaristic than American police. That means they might be better equipped to deal with civil disorder. Yet Canada’s centralized law enforcement structure might be more vulnerable to collapse or cyber-attacks. Unlike in the US, day-to-day uniformed law enforcement in much of Canada is provided by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (the legendary Mounties or RCMP) run by the federal government or by provincial police forces (similar to the state police in Pennsylvania).

The Canadian government might have an easier time reestablishing order in a major crisis than the US government. Yet its ability will be restricted by the availability of the grid and other technological resources.

The truth is that Canadians and Americans are pretty much in the same boat. Residents of either country that want to survive and thrive in the long term will need to rely on their own resources. This is so because neither the Canadian nor the American welfare state can be sustained on a long-term basis. Both nations face the specter of economic collapse and dysfunctional government in the near future.

You should choose your homestead location on the ability of your family to live there independently on your own resources rather than the flag flying over the post office. In the near future, it may not make much difference what side of the border you’re living on.

© Copyright Off The Grid News


  1. Okay this all good and dandy for those who can afford it. Now let’s have some info for intelligent, poorer, people who never sold-out in the first place. It must be nice and cozy to be able to spend tens of thousands of dollars in order to live off the grid, but there are many who simply can’t afford these lavish set-ups.

    Your next project: “A Poor Person’s Guide To Living Off The Grid.”

  2. It doesn’t have to cost alot of money to live off the grid. And if its done right to begin with, it won’t. All a person really needs to do is get out from under the traditional way of life and save money. Live with a parent, a friend, or in a tent in someone’s backyard. Be frugal and conserve. With the average job you can save enough in a year to buy a sizeable piece of land. We are living in a travel trailer that we scraped to buy outright with cash. We had to sell nearly everything we had to get it. We are living in it next to my parent’s garage. Thankfully its in a spot that kind of hidden. But still being close to the road, we worry about troublemakers. The idea is to get through a year’s time to save our money. Once we get the land of our choosing, we will move it on there. And it will be hidden away from all busy bodies. And even better it will be far away from town with alot of trees. Its my thinking to either find land with an old barn or just build one. Put the camper inside. And nobody will know its there. Not even spy satellites. Then we can homestead without worrying about building a home first. its smarter to establish a WAY of life before building a home. Because once you build a home, the law has their noses stuck right up your ass. We won’t even have a mailbox out there.

    • So you are having to sneakily place your camper from site to site while basically living off of your family. We want a guide thats not as shady as the above advice

  3. Sorry but I disagree with your article Abbi. Canada will be safer during the ‘collapse’. Obviously Canada will not be relying on the Cdn. military when they impose martial law. They will be doing what the elite have been planning for all countries and that’s having a foreign military under the UN flag on Cdn soil. This is because a countries own military will find it difficult to open fire on its own citizens, but soldiers from other countries don’t have that same difficulty. Its ingenious actually, but quite evil too.

    As you pointed out, US citizens are much more heavily armed. And as we saw with hurricane Katrina good people do bad things when there is no food or water. Canada also has an atmosphere of cooperation and helping thy neighbour. So overall Canada will have safer atmosphere. However, there will still be those up here that try to take what you have to survive so I’m not saying it will be 100% safe here. Canada will also be safer because of the enormous amount of land we have and the tiny population. It will be much easier to find a remote place to survive. Winters could be tough, but here in BC we seldom see any snow. And if we do, its not nearly as much as many US states receive. Also, here in BC we have a rainforest and many many streams, rivers, and lakes. And right across Canada we have an abundance of natural clean water. Some areas of the US have much better weather making living off grid much easier. However, those same areas are normally heavily populated and again – lots of people with guns who at some point will be very very hungry and thirsty.

    I recommend those that don’t have the money to set up a self sustaining piece of land now search online for people that want to start a community. When we work in numbers our chances for survival are much greater. Its also the natural way we are suppose to live. Living in cities is unhealthy in so many ways for both us and the environment.

    My wife and I are doing just that. I’ve bought a 2nd hand 4×4 and a 30′ travel trailer for cash, and could get a small piece of land with what we have left. But instead we are searching for others to pool our money together and buy a larger piece of land with equipment, animals, emergency supplies, etc. And if we all work together we can create a solid, supportive, self-sustaining community that is safer and able to survive the collapse. (for more info contact [email protected]).

    But at the very least, have emergency supplies ready to go. And that includes an extra tank of gas to get you far from any city.

    Good luck.

  4. I am having trouble trying to find a decent location I just wont really know until I get there I guess, but how am I going to get there?

  5. You may not like what I have to say but here goes First of all you self centered Americans think you can just go into any country and take what you want. We had to put up with the draft dodgers of the sixties. I think you should just stay in your country and do the best you can. We have our hunting grounds and back country for canadians to use and servive on. We don’t want illegal imagrants any more than you do. We don’t want your violence, we are only allowed handguns to use on ranges.(that means we don’t carry them in the bush,grocery store, or to a restaraunt.
    Articles like this are very offensive to Canadians

    • Ya And keep your Justin Beaver up there AYY !!!

      • As for Jusitin Blubber, maybe you need to know this but he’s got his greencard … do you .. ? Yes he his now American … the canadian crap is marketing been a long time since he moved out, and as a Canadian, proud to have shipped him to you guys 🙂 Enjoy !

    • Seriously a german attitude ! ( from text below : And about WES STEINBRECKER … YOUR NAME ‘ STEINBRECKER ‘ is an immigrant name from GERMANY. EVERY CANADIAN ARE IMMIGRANT BY genealogy ! OH and btw Im also CANADIAN. ) So since your an immigrant you shouldnt be allowed on ANY off-grid location … since YOU dont want to have immigrant steeling ‘our’ lands… which btw aint yours either , but owned … yes still … own by the Crown. the few germans that came here after the war came here as traitors !! I know .. used to live near stittsville where theres a house with a HUGE land , when you enter the property you can still see 2 lil statue 2’X2′ with the Swastika symbol on each side.

      That tells us …. THAT IMMIGRANT ARE BUYING OUR LANDS … LIKE YOU DO ! So canadian …by default should be allowed freely to live off-grid if its their choices !

      Off-Grid is a community concept existing to help one another … no matter where they’re from as long as they integrate themselves .. which is more tahn I would expect from peeps like you .! Find a rope and deal with it, cause your comment has no place on a site like this [email protected]#$ !

    • Wanted to add … most peeps in Sates are also immigrant themselves or issue from immigrant. And German ARE the worst part in any case. Although I cant stand them… I accept a lebanese WAY before a german near me as far as you’re concerned. They’re Christians ( I hate religion myself ) and peacefull which makes a contrast to other islamic culture. Wow you did get in my hair for some reason … sorry it’s just I barely stand idiocity !

  6. Where did you do your research on Canada ???????????????? nothing , absolutely nothing in this article makes any sense and is 90% fiction good god get your facts straight before you write about MY country !

  7. Both above are correct about Canada.You cant just come here its actually harder to enter Canada than USA trust me i know.I am Canadian.

  8. I think the article is talking about how to survive an economic crash guys. Not the invasion of Americans with guns… It’s about making the choice to live off grid in Canada or US, and the pros ad cons of doing either. I know I’m a yr late with my comment. But there’s always some negative Nancy trying to throw an opinion out that has nothing to do with the conversation

  9. Are there any off grid locations in Alberta or B.C that I could check out? I too, am interested in this kind of lifestyle.

  10. Living off-grid will not protect you in case all hell breaks loose.

    In that case, the only thing that will protect you is the ability to kill other human first before they kill you.

    Maybe it’s better to take some martial art classes or get some military training if you think the world will end soon and everyone will be killing each other in the streets. Because your solar panels won’t save you if that does happen.

    Me personally, I think if all hell breaks loose I wouldn’t want to survive anyway.

  11. I disagree a little with the last commenters point.
    From everything that I’ve read, learned, and seen, I think that obviously a person would be a lot better off if they have an off grid sustainable (& stocked) place that they were living at, (or to go to), if & when S.H.T.F.
    Basiclly, the further away you are from the hustle and bustle of large downtown city centres, the better off you’ll be in such a scenario. Like what happened in Hurricane Katrina, some fairly nice folks can get nasty in tough times….(& the bad get worse.)
    * (& a person can always prepare, and stock-up their home residence, even regularly living in a small city apartment, if that’s what you have to work with.)
    He does have a good point about some martial arts and/or military survivalist type training though. In certain situations of varying degrees, (basically like he was talking about)….and out in the wild for that matter; any such training could very well come in handy. & if you don’t end up needing it in a S.H.T.F. scenario, the camping/survivalist and self-defence skills learned are always great to have anyway.
    (….and don’t overlook psychological/emotional preparedness as well. Which is also important during regular off-grid living.)
    I thought it was a pretty good article overall.
    P.S.: I’m Canadian, lol
    Take care folks!

  12. … Again what for poor peoples … I live with min income 15-20k/year, have a bachelor to pay, accessories for work, meds when needed, and at 46 .. not living with parents. So after reading this I still dont see thru off-grider here, you guys think with your wallets … seriously ! Peoples in this type of predicament (poor) are the one that should be allowed to do this , the rich who wants to follow should pay twice the value they would pay in cities … they can afford it and they got the money … let them pay for it … but poor should be allowed and given a smell place and some help and basic materials to start. As long as new comers accept to help out on building houses , farming etc.. an off-grid community … what you guys are talking about isnt really off-grid but as a seecond house where you dont have taxes to take your money, i got no money but more than willing to help peoples on a daily basis with a community. … as John said what about the poors.

    And about WES STEINBRECKER … YOUR NAME ‘ STEINBRECKER ‘ is an immigrant name from GERMANY. EVERY CANADIAN ARE IMMIGRANT BY genealogy ! OH and btw Im also CANADIAN.

    Living off-grid is supposed to be for the poors who cant afford your freakish taxes.

    Anyone knows a community… I’m in with woodworking, gardening, and basic structural framing and ready to helpl on a life basis.

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