Healthy and Inclusive Communities Minister Dorothy Shephard says the private sector operators support the change. (GNB)

The Alward government is going to give the provincial ombudsman the power to investigate nursing homes and special care homes.

Under the proposed legislation, introduced on Wednesday by Healthy and Inclusive Communities Minister Dorothy Shephard, special care homes and home care providers who receive government funding will be subject to investigations.

And seniors who receive care from them will have the right to complain to the ombudsman, she said.

"We have the support of our stakeholders in providing this opportunity," said Shephard.

"It's really important that third-party institutions who are providing government services have the same accountability as a government institution would."

Some seniors' groups have called on the government to make this change to provide oversight to the sector.

New Brunswick's former ombudsman Bernard Richard said in October the Alward government broke its promise to include senior care in the office's mandate.

The Progressive Conservatives pledged during the 2010 election campaign that if elected, the ombudsman would be able to monitor nursing and special care homes and home care services, said Richard.