REGINA -- The families of the residents of Saskatchewan’s only private long-term care homes are planning to try to file a class-action lawsuit regarding the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Regina lawyer Tony Merchant is planning to launch a class-action lawsuit on behalf of the residents, families, and others affected by COVID-19 related deaths in Extendicare homes.

A statement of claim has been prepared, and raises concerns surrounding deaths, and claims the COVID-19 care was substandard in Extendicare’s long-term care facilities.

The claim alleges lives would have been saved if the directives before and during COVID-19 had been properly followed. The claim alleges Extendicare knew of issues at each of its locations through audits and Saskatchewan Health Authority facilities reports.

These claims have yet to be proven in court.

"Our focus at this time is solely on providing quality care to our residents, and supporting our families and team members,” Laura Gallant, Extendicare spokesperson, said. “We share in the sadness of our community over the devastating toll COVID-19 has taken on Extendicare Parkside and other long-term care homes across the country. We'll respond to the allegations through the appropriate legal channels in due course."

Merchant alleged 35 per cent of the 117 individuals who died of COVID-19 in Saskatchewan in special care homes died in Extendicare facilities.