John Herdman's squad trailed for over 45 minutes in soggy conditions at Stade du Ray in Nice.
France had taken the lead late in the first half when Elodie Thomis scored behind Canadian keeper Erin McLeod.
"As the half went on in the second half, you could see that confidence started to grow," said Herdman. "Once that momentum was built, people started performing at the level that they can. I have to say, I was really impressed with the last 30 minutes."
The result may have been a bitter reminder for the French team of the bronze medal match at the London Olympics in August, when Diana Matheson of Oakville, Ont., scored in the 92nd minute to put Canada on the podium after they struggled for much of the match.
France, ranked fifth in the world, embarrassed Canada in a 4-0 result at the 2011 World Cup.
Canada is tied for seventh in the FIFA rankings with England, with the two squads set to play Sunday.
The Canadian women beat the Britons in the Olympic quarter-finals, with the tables turned in the final of the recent Cyprus Cup.