The first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic had a catastrophic impact on Canada's long-term care system. This report compares the experiences of the five Canadian provinces that were most affected by COVID-19. This includes a comparison of the five mandates that provincial governments implemented in order to protect long-term care residents. Findings from this report indicate that the Canadian provinces whose long-term care systems were most devastated by COVID-19 failed their residents by responding too slowly compared with provinces with similar long-term care systems. This lesson should guide policy reform to safeguard residents during the second wave and beyond.