The archbishop of Quebec, Gerald Cyprien Lacroix, was among a new batch of cardinals selected Sunday by Pope Francis.
Lacroix was one of 19 men named to the senior ecclesiastical post in a morning address by Pope Francis at the vatican.
The appointment means Lacroix will be part of the group tasked with electing the next pope, which is a cardinal's most important task.
"I'm touched by the confidence shown by Pope Francis," he told reporters following Sunday mass in Quebec City.
"I've very happy to continue to serve the church with him."
The pope made the announcement as he spoke from his studio window to a crowd in St. Peter's Square.
Lacroix will be formally installed as a cardinal at a ceremony at the Vatican on Feb. 22.
The native of Saint-Hilaire de Dorset, a small town 300 kilometres east of Montreal, was named Quebec's archbishop in 2011.
The 56-year-old worked for more than a decade in Colombia after being ordained as a priest in 1988.
The cardinals chosen by Pope Francis come from Asia, Africa, Latin America, and elsewhere, including the developing nations of Haiti and Burkina Faso, in line with his belief that the church must pay more attention to the poor.
Lacroix is only a year older than the youngest new cardinal. Monsignor Chibly Langlois from Haiti is 55.
Canada now has three cardinals, with Lacroix joining Jean-Claude Turcotte of Montreal and Thomas Collins of Toronto.
Lacroix's predecessor as archbishop, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, currently holds a top post at the Vatican.
He was considered a contender to succeed Pope Benedict XVI, who resigned in Feb. 2013.