Prior to 2000, there wasn't a separate "team final" to qualify for like there is now. All 12 teams competed compulsories and then all 12 teams competed optionals. And that was the team result. Whereas now, 12 teams compete in a prelim and 8 are qualified to the final. If you consider the old team competition the equivalent, then all 12 teams made it to the "final", in which case the Canadian team qualified to the "final" in 1992 at least and possibly other years prior to then that I am too lazy to look up.
A more accurate way of stating could have been that it was Canada's best finish in a non-boycotted games, which was true even prior to TF. I think now we can just say best finish ever, given that it ties with the 5th of 84 but this one is obviously more meaningful.
Another good way to put the accomplishment in perspective is that since the TF concept was put in place at 1997 Worlds, Canada has never made TF at either Worlds or Olympics, so this is the first time in 12 attempts (or 24 if you include the men). So it really is an amazing finish for the girls, but it is really annoying that the media is misreporting it.
(And I think this will have to be my last post on this topic too).