Children and youth flourish in environments that are predictable, safe, and structured. The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted these protective factors making it difficult for children and youth to adapt and thrive. Pandemic-related school closures, family stress, and trauma have led to increases in mental health problems in some children and youth, an area of health that was already in crisis well before COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic. Because mental health problems early in life are associated with significant impairment across family, social, and academic domains, immediate measures are needed to mitigate the potential for long-term sequalae. Now more than ever, Canada needs a national mental health strategy that is delivered in the context in which children and youth are most easily accessible—schools. This strategy should provide coordinated care across sectors in a stepped care framework and across a full continuum of mental health supports spanning promotion, prevention, early intervention, and treatment. In parallel, we must invest in a comprehensive population-based follow-up of Statistics Canada’s Canadian Health Survey on Children and Youth so that accurate information about how the pandemic is affecting all Canadian children and youth can be obtained. It is time the Canadian government prioritizes the mental health of children and youth in its management of the pandemic and beyond.