William Kokesch was handed the sentence after being arrested in December 2012 and pleading guilty.
Investigators seized more than 2,000 images during a search of his suburban home.
Kokesch was 65 when arrested.
His lawyer, Jeffrey Boro, told reporters Kokesch had problems as a youngster but he did not elaborate.
"When you have a troubled childhood, it sometimes manifests itself in acts such as the one that Mr. Kokesch pleaded guilty to," Boro said.
He added that his client has come a long way.
"It's 27 months of therapy sessions, realizing that he's not alone, that there are many other people — many more than we know — out there who have the same problem," Boro said.
During sentencing, Kokesch read out a letter in which he apologized and asked for forgiveness.
Boro said in an interview later that Kokesch was not actually involved in producing pornography.
"Because of the definition in the Criminal Code, he fell under that and had to plead guilty to the charge," he explained.
"He was importing pictures and videos into his computer and sending them to other people."
Boro also said some of the pornography involved pictures of children as young as five.
His client had been freed on bail while awaiting sentencing, but with conditions attached.
Kokesch was not allowed to be in public areas where children were likely to gather and was also forbidden from using a computer or having access to the Internet.
He was arrested as the result of an investigation by Vancouver police into a child pornographer in the city.
Kokesch, a deacon for a church in the Montreal suburb of Beaconsfield, was also a communications director for the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The Archdiocese of Montreal removed Kokesch from all pastoral activity after he was first charged.