I had to figure this one out last year when I did a trip in Nova Scotia. What I got from the Canadian Coast Guard is that in order to use a VHF in Canada, you have to purchase a US Ship Station License from the FCC. If you stay in the US, no license is necessary.
However, the Canadians said that having it in your posession, turned off, and not on your deck when you launch is perfectly OK. The basic message was that if it's a real emergency, nobody in Canada is going to care that you called for help illegally. Just don't use it for anything other than monitoring or emergencies, only turn it on after you have left port/shore, and keep it out of sight when you're near shore. I've brought mine into Canada several times, with no hassles. I keep it in a waterproof box behind my seat.