Wednesday's draw could have been worse for the Canadian women. They managed to avoid four-time champion New Zealand and Australia, although Canada will face both sides on tour next year ahead of the August tournament.
New Zealand's Black Ferns were drawn in Pool B with Six Nations champion Ireland, Kazakhstan and the U.S.
A tough Pool C features host France plus Australia, Wales and South Africa.
The three pool winners and the runner-up with most points advance to the semifinals while the remaining eight teams play off for final ranking.
On paper, the draw seems an opportunity for Canada.
England was runner-up in the last three World Cups and has won all four previous meetings at the World Cup. But Canada beat England twice this year in winning the Nation's Cup.
Coincidentally the two teams meet Nov. 13 at Twickenham as part of Canada's fall tour of England and France.
Canada thumped Spain 79-0 the last time they met at the World Cup, in the 2006 pool stages.
The Canadian women have never met Samoa.
Canada finished a disappointing sixth at the 2010 World Cup in England, losing 23-20 to the U.S. in the fifth-place playoff. The Canadians went 2-1 in pool play, beating Scotland and Sweden before losing to France.
Canada beat Scotland again to advance to the fifth-place game.
New Zealand won the tournament, beating England 13-10 in the final. The Black Ferns went 5-0, outscoring their opposition 188-33