It seems to be the worst country when it comes to vendor lock-in (firmware branding, sim locking), long contracts, high costs and craptastic prepaid packages. The one GSM network they have there (Rogers) is only GSM by technology, they use IMEI numbers to make sure people are using the right branded device for the data plan they're on. In any country where there is no CDMA that shit wouldn't fly, of course the Gubmint there don't feel like doing anything about it.
This is BS.
I moved to Canada 18 months ago and got a Rogers SIM card that I just popped into my unlocked european phone and it worked. I eventually changed over to Fido for a better plan (no contract) and bought an unlocked phone, no worries. You can get prepaid SIM cards basically anywhere and they'll never, ever ask for the IMEI.
If you only need a cheap prepaid, I recomment Speakeasy that's sold by 7-11. Credit lasts for 1 year and you can get a nearly free phone if needed.
I do agree that the cell phone market in Canada totally sucks and blows. Bell is hell, I had the misfortune of dealing with them and they're the absolute worst company I've ever dealt with. Rogers is a pain to deal with, but they do deliver on the product in a more satisfactory way than Bell or Telus.
Now there's a thing to take into account: the sheer size of the territory. Canada's HUGE. Maps don't do justice to its immensity, only second to Russia. I would think that installing and maintaining such a huge network to cover such a small population does have a rather high cost... but that's no excuse for the ways those companies gouge us!