The COVID-19 pandemic has driven home the serious vulnerabilities plaguing Canada's long-term care system. We argue for significant new federal investments tied to clear, enforceable quality standards (particularly around staffing); new investments in home care so that more people can "age in place"; and additional support for informal care providers, including respite programs and cash benefits. We explore how to achieve these reforms within the framework of Canadian federalism and call for the creation of a national governance framework – overseen by experts independent of federal and provincial governments – tasked with establishing evidence-based standards for the quality, safety and timeliness of long-term care services.