Sung Hyang Sim put North Korea ahead in the 54th minute.
Canada, however, maintained pressure and tied the game late off an own goal where Kim Jong Sum put the ball just over her own line in the 86th minute.
"Never give up. Never, ever give up," said Canada's head coach Bev Priestman. "And you could argue we deserved something from the first game (a 2-2 draw against Germany) and a bit of luck was on our side tonight."
Canada is currently in second place in Group B while Ghana has already earned its way through to the second stage by winning its first two matches.
Canada will face Ghana on Mar. 22 in its third and final Group Stage matchup.
North Korea created numerous chances prior to taking the lead, but Canada created some opportunities of their own as Jessie Fleming hit the crossbar with a long-range effort in the first half.
After going down a goal in the second half, they nearly came back when Gabrielle Carle had a header that also hit the bar.
"They showed real resilience and it's one of the things they want to be known for," said Priestman of her team's perseverance against the runners-up from two years ago.
"All credit to Korea, they came at us. Tactically, they caused us some problems but there are some special girls in this team and they stood out tonight."
Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version reported that Canada played South KoreaSuggest a correction