He had been serving a life sentence since 2015 for alleged anti-state activities.
He appeared slightly frail but in good spirits as he returned to his congregation at the Light Korean Presbyterian Church in Mississauga, a Toronto suburb. "In particular, I want to thank Sweden, our protecting power in North Korea, for assisting us".
The announcement came amid heightened tensions between Washington and Pyongyang, though authorities have not said there is any connection between his release and efforts to defuse the standoff over North Korea's nuclear program.
Smiling and slightly thin, in a dark suit and tie on a white shirt, the pastor is sitting next to his son in the first rank of the faithful, on his knees, his granddaughter, born while he was forced to labour in North Korea.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed Thursday that Hyeon Soo Lim has been released and will soon be reunited with his family.
The pastor, who served in one of the largest churches in Canada, had travelled to North Korea regularly on humanitarian missions before his detainment.
"We are very glad that pastor Lim is now safely home", she said. Ms. Pak confirmed that Mr. Lim - who is said to suffer from high blood pressure and is believed to have lost a significant amount of weight since his capture - will be receiving medical attention. "Now more than ever, he's never felt more Canadian".
US President Donald Trump raised the stakes this week by vowing to rain down "fire and fury" on the authoritarian state, which is presently holding three American citizens.
"Canada is very clear in condemning the actions of North Korea", she said.
A number of Christian missionaries - mostly ethnic Koreans who are USA citizens - have been arrested in the past, with some of them only allowed to return home after intervention by high-profile U.S. political figures.
In direct conversations with North Korea and through China, Freeland said Canada sought to "get North Korea to understand that it must get off this path, which is so destructive for North Korea and the world". "When they are threatened, we are there".