Vern Cotter’s second match in charge of the Scots almost ended in an embarrassing defeat, with only a controversial late decision seeing them over the line.
Canada won a penalty just outside the 22-metre line with five minutes to go and signalled an intent to kick, only for the call to be reversed.
The television match official ruled that Jebb Sinclair had led with an elbow on Ruaridh Jackson as Scotland got the ball back and the Canadian was sent off.
Scotland duly held firm in the dying stages to record an unconvincing triumph against their gallant opponents.
There was also concern for Scotland’s Alasdair Strokosch, who was taken off on a stretcher after receiving lengthy treatment for a head knock in the first half.
Scotland captain Greig Laidlaw kicked the visitors in front in the third minute before both sides had tries disallowed for knock-ons.
Canada full-back James Pritchard levelled the score with a penalty of his own and that seemed to inspire his side, who then claimed a surprise lead.
Centre Ciaran Hearn set up the game’s first try, passing for Jeff Hassler to slide over.
Scotland produced a quick response as Laidlaw fed Grant Gilchrist for his first Scotland try and the skipper’s conversion gave his side a 10-8 lead.
Strokosch’s injury forced a significant delay but, when play resumed, Laidlaw was again on hand to kick truly as Scotland moved 13-8 ahead by the break.
A pair of Pritchard penalties saw Canada hit the front in the second half and, although Stuart Hogg responded with a monster 50-metre kick, the hosts took the lead again when Pritchard, shortly after hitting the post, kicked another three-pointer.
Scotland were scrappy in attack throughout, just as they were in last week’s 24-6 win over the United States, but Laidlaw played a lone hand for his side.
And his third penalty ultimately proved enough as the late drama cost Canada ” and Pritchard ” a chance of victory.
Scotland will next face Argentina on Friday, knowing improvement is essential if they are to make it three wins on the trot.
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