Canada is a leading nation for international migration, yet fails to adequately respond to the healthcare needs of migrant populations. In this editorial, we explore why this is so. We posit that the reactive approach of the systems and stakeholders responsible for assuring healthcare access during the COVID-19 pandemic has been detrimental to our vulnerable and marginalized populations, and by extension, all citizens. Now, amidst a second wave of COVID-19, we must act – more decisively and compassionately than ever before, with the support of rigorous research and co-designed sustainable strategies. Otherwise, we remain bystanders abetting a system that has failed to effectively address the health needs of those that enter this country seeking a better life.