I don't know if Canada is any different, but we have wire as thick as your thumb that is still copper...what a pain to handle though.Here in the US everything above a certain size is aluminum. Not sure what that size is. I don't think any circuit run in a normal residence is aluminum, they are all copper. At least that's the way it is in my locality.
For instance, the 50 amp range circuit is still copper.
Now why can't you connect the ground to the neutral in an electrical outlet if the ground is connected to neutral in the panel anyhow? Is it just bad practice?