Hearts of Iron 4 (HOI4) – Canada Strategy Guide

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Canada was one of the most impactful colonies of the United Kingdom in the Second World War. They have helped the Allies more than most countries and have participated from start till end.

However, Paradox Interactive have decided to make this important North American country one of the most boring options you can choose. Though you would think you’d play similarly to the US, Canada is actually just a horrible country to play in HOI4.

Recommended Read: Hearts of Iron 4 – Czechoslovakia Strategy Guide

The main reason? Players will need to choose between Manpower or Industry in their focus tree, and the country unfortunately needs both. This is why it’s usually a very limiting experience and will likely disappoint most players that go in blind.

In this guide we will show you the best strategy to conquer a lot of territory as Canada and actually have a significant role in the Second World War in Hearts of Iron 4.

Table of Contents

General Strategy for Canada in HOI4

The first thing we’ll do is give up on the United Kingdom. The historical path where you Strengthen the Commonwealth Ties can give pretty good industry bonuses but is just very boring.

So, the choice really boils down to either Fascist or Communist. Unfortunately, the Communist path will end up with you either having no Manpower or stuck in a war with 1940 USA, which is not an enemy you want to have.

This is why we are going with the Blue Shirts and putting Adrien Arcand in power. Canada has a prehistoric focus tree that absolutely no one likes, so we’ll also have to improvise to make things fun.

We’ll use justifications and civil war mechanics to get what we want since the focus tree will waste our time with faction requests and useless war goals.

The main strategy will be causing a civil war, which will instantly free us from the British yolk and give us access to the War Bonds focus, and also justify on the UK to increase the World Tension to get the Defense of Canada Regulations focus.

All of this will be done to get the Send in the Zombies and National Steel Car focuses.

After that, we will justify on the Philippines to attack the US and become the largest power in North America by 1940.

Once we’ve reached this point, you will be free to do whatever you want since you will have one of the largest industries in the world with enough Compliance in the States.

How to Start as Canada in HOI4

For the start of the game, all you’ll do is prepare for the civil war. There’s nothing interesting that will happen until that starts, and then everything will jump from 0 to 100.

National Focuses

Here are the focuses you will need to complete to win the game as Canada:

  1. Patriation
  2. Clubs
  3. Rowell-Sirois Commission
  4. Crown Corporations
  5. National Housing Act
  6. War Bonds
  7. Canadian Pacific Railway
  8. Defense of Canada Regulations
  9. Wartime Prices and Trade Board
  10. Canada Wheat Board
  11. Commit to the War
  12. Support the Blue Shirts
  13. Send in the Zombies
  14. National Resources Mobilization Act
  15. Mine the Shield
  16. Alberta Coal Towns
  17. National Steel Car

All we’re trying to get in this focus is bonuses to Manpower and industry. Most of our choices will be made in the decisions and political tabs.


Start building the maximum Civilian Factories in Southern Ontario. After that, start pumping Military Factories until the end of the game.


Place all 5 Military Factories on Infantry Equipment and all possible Naval Dockyards on Convoys. You will only use Cavalry, so don’t invest in anything else right now.


Place all your divisions in Southern Ontario and leave them there. Don’t train any new divisions. Also, sell all your planes on the market, you’re not going to need them.

Add another Cavalry battalion to the Cavalry division. You can’t really do much else until you defeat the US.

How to Defeat the USA

Civil War

After completing the Clubs focus, you will gain access to the Fascism on the Rise decisions. For the first time ever, probably in the history of HOI4, press the Prepare for Civil War button for 50 Political Power.

Now, continuously press the Expand Military Support and Expand Civil Support buttons each time you can to gain most of the army when the war starts and actually press the button to start the war.

Around the start of 1937, Stability should be close to 50%, which will allow you to press the Ignite Civil War to start the battle for power.

To defeat the old Canada, you’ll need to get Vancouver. So, send your troops on the western front and advance to the new capital. If you find enemy Canadian divisions on the way, encircle them or just pin them and continue the advance.

You can also cheese the war even further by deploying 2 width Cavalry divisions just to quickly go around them and get all the Victory Points.

While this is going on, use 18 Political Power to start justifying on the UK. This will only be done to increase World Tension and gain access to the Defense of Canada Regulations focus.

To get this, you’ll need 20% World Tension. So, make sure to cancel the justification once WT reaches something close to 22% since it can also decrease while you’re doing the focus, canceling it.

The civil war will be very easy so do not complete it until getting the Commit to the War focus done. Otherwise, you’ll lose out on the Zombies focus until fighting the US. Encircle Vancouver and wait until that gets finished.


You will need to create an Intelligence Agency and start working on building a Collab Government with the US.

To get this mission done, you’ll also need Support Equipment, so either buy a lot from the market or get working on producing some.

Having a high enough Collaboration Government with the USA will make your job a lot easier once the war is done. Aim for something above 60% to make sure you get the all the bonuses that come with high Compliance.

Now, once you feel prepared enough, start justifying on the Philippines to start your war with the US. Aim to declare the war in 1938, since the States should still be suffering from major debuffs.

To win the war, around 84 divisions will be more than enough. The border with the US is huge and they will have almost no troops to hold the northwestern front.

Winning the War

There are two things that can happen when you declare war on the Philippines:

  1. The USA joins them.
  2. The USA joins them alongside the Allies.

The first scenario is usually the best since you don’t need to worry about other powers and can decide whom you want to help after completing your expansion.

If they join the Allies, you can join the Axis and work together to get rid of the powers that oppose you.

The war with America will be extremely easy if you have declared it before 1939. The western front will be childsplay since they won’t have enough divisions to protect the border and the eastern front will fall when they attempt to reinforce the west.

Aim to conquer most of the oceanside Victory Points since those should be enough to capitulate the US and win you the war. Once they’re done, conquer all of their territories and seize their fleet, since you’ll need it against the UK.

If the US joins the Allies, you’ll have to play the game a bit differently. First, try to capitulate the US as soon as possible.

Getting rid of them will make everything a lot easier. Unfortunately, all the Allied forces will come into the States and push you back, which you won’t really be able to fight properly.

This is why an alliance with Germany will be crucial. No, you don’t need the useless focus to Join Germany since they will gladly have you in their faction in your common war.

Start production of planes and paratroopers and prepare to take over at least one port in the UK mainland.

Once that happens, land in the UK and capitulate them to win the war against the Allies as early as 1940.

What to Do After

At this point there are two choices: either help the Axis defeat the Soviet Union or the other way around. Both options are good and you can work to become the most powerful nation in the world by the end of the game.

Your biggest problem would be fighting Japan if you attempt to take down the Axis since they are the only ones with a Navy good enough to threaten the mainland.

Otherwise, with the combined stolen fleet of the UK and the US, you should be more powerful than any country in the world when it comes to ships.

That’s everything you need to know about how to win WW2 as Canada in Hearts of Iron 4!

Have any input or suggestions for this guide? Let us know in the comment section below.

Adrian Oprea

Based in London, United Kingdom, Adrian Oprea is a Guides Writer. As a professional single-player RPG player, Adrian has often been stigmatized. He has decided to pour his frustration into writing guides!

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