Almost 4,000 long-term care residents and 11 staff have died of COVID-19 since the pandemic hit.
Friday's report to the Ontario government said the province's long-term care sector needs sweeping reforms to protect its vulnerable residents.
It suggested a new model to build long-term care homes in the future, similar to what's in place for privately funded hospitals, courthouses and light rail transit systems.
Ms. Fullerton reacted to both reports by blaming previous governments for systemic problems, including a chronic staffing shortage and homes built to outdated design standards, where many residents share a bedroom and bathroom with up to three other people. "ONA will hold this government responsible for its actions and will be unrelenting in our efforts to ensure homes are made safer".
The Canadian Union of Public Employees said Monday that the report highlighted the need for an immediate increase in paid hours for personal support workers and other staff in the sector, as well as "a move that would acknowledge the growing evidence of aerosol transmission of COVID-19", something the Ontario government has been slow to accept.
In fact, they wrote, he only issued directives after consulting the deputy minister of health and the COVID-19 Command Table.
The military leaders who organized a deployment of long-term care homes also testified, describing the circumstances surrounding the mission and the poor reporting of conditions within the facilities.
"Staff were crying before, during and after work, vomiting in locker-rooms from stress and watching residents they love dying in great numbers", he said, summarizing some findings outlined in the report.
For residents, the mental health consequences were akin to those faced by prisoners in solitary confinement, the commissioners said.
The report found full inspections were sparsely conducted in person in the months leading up to the onset of the pandemic, and residents frequently had to receive COVID-19 test results in the mail days after outbreaks in the early months of the first wave, rendering them practically useless.
Additionally, the Commission's call to promote and fund person-centred models of care, as well as increase care hours provided by allied health professionals above what is now being planned by the province, will go a long way to improve the quality of resident care. At that time five employees died due to COVID-19.
They have already released two sets of interim recommendations.
The commission, led by Frank Marrocco, associate chief justice of the Superior Court, heard from long-term care residents, staff and management.
Earlier Friday, Ford said he welcomed the commission's report, as hard as it would be to read.
"Urgently implementing our staffing plan, investing in stronger [infection prevention and control] measures, and developing thousands of new long-term care spaces". "And it was bad".
"Sorrow for the survivors and families of the victims is not enough", she said in a statement.
"If you want to have adequate staffing in long-term care, if you want to have the necessary support for residents, you need to actually train the staff, and that's exactly what we're doing", Fullerton said. "Unfortunately, neither the Ministry of Long-Term Care, nor the long-term-care sector was sufficiently positioned, prepared or equipped to respond to the issues created by the pandemic in an effective and expedient way". He warned, 'If we do not learn from SARS and we do not make the government fix the problems that remain... we will pay a awful price in the next pandemic.' Workers are now paying that price.