Two major Ontario nursing home chains are facing $150 million lawsuits by families who allege their loved ones did not receive proper care. Extendicare and Leisureworld (now Senior Care Corporation) – big companies that dominate the longe-term care industry – are being sued for “systemic negligence” and “failure to deliver the kind of care that’s been promised.”

A May 2 CTV News report highlights two horrifying scenes they say residents suffered in the homes: one of a woman who “ was left writhing in agony on a washroom floor with a broken ankle after being told to ‘clean up her own mess’ ”; while another saw a woman develop a leg wound that became “filled with wriggling maggots.”

CTV says the lawsuits against private nursing home operators are the first of their kind in Canada and could shake up an industry that’s been under increasing fire for failing to protect residents from violence or provide appropriate levels of care.

Deplorable and shocking scenes like these ones are cropping up on a regular basis and can no longer be swept under the carpet. And with a growing number of elderly people needing nursing home care, it’s time the industry got its act together.

“We are alleging that there is a systemic negligence going on, that there is a failure to deliver the kind of care that’s been promised,” lawyer Armani Oakley (who is leading both lawsuits) told CTV.

“There is nothing isolated about these cases. And nothing is changing. “I hope this is going to make a difference because my heart twists in a knot for these people.”

In response to the allegations, Extendicare, which operates over 400 long-term care facilities in North America, posted a statement on its corporate website, saying:

We care deeply about the residents, clients and families that we serve, and our staff work hard to provide them with comfort, care, and compassion. We do not believe this lawsuit has merit and intend to demonstrate this through the court process.

CARP, which has long been lobbying to improve nursing-home care in Canada, recently asked the four parties running in the June 2018 Ontario election to explain what they would do to better long-term care in the province?

What will each party do to protect long-term care residents, if elected?