The reliability of the long-wavelength portion (> 300 km) of the magnetic field over Canada, as represented by the national aeromagnetic anomaly database compiled by the Geological Survey of Canada (GSC), is assessed by comparison with two independent data sets: a high-altitude country-wide survey carried out by the former Earth Physics Branch (EPB) and data from the MAGSAT and POGO satellite missions. The different altitudes at which each data set was measured (300 m, ~4 km, and ~400 km), and their different resolution and time span of observations allow a determination of the integrity of selected wavelength bands in each data set. The (upward-continued) EPB and MAGSAT–POGO fields compare well for wavelengths of 300–2500 km. The GSC data show significant differences to the former, indicating that the levelling and merging of several hundred individual surveys has degraded the longer wavelength components of the magnetic field. Replacing the GSC wavelength components >300 km with those from the EPB field produces a magnetic data set containing more dependable information within the largest possible waveband.