Minister Vandal announces investment of $2 million in local economic growth, job creation and sustainable business development in the Yukon
The funding, delivered through CanNor, supports the purchase, relocation and expansion of Heartland Timber Homes in its new location in Watson Lake
February 23, 2023 — Watson Lake, Yukon — Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency
The Government of Canada is investing in jobs, growth and an economy that works for everyone. These investments, combined with the resilience of Canadians, is crucial to building a sustainable and prosperous country for future generations. In the Yukon, these efforts are exemplified by the many businesses and organizations that are leading initiatives in their communities that inspire pride, purpose and opportunity.
Today, the Honourable Dan Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs, PrairiesCan and CanNor, announced an investment of $2 million to First Kaska Construction Limited Partnership (FKCLP) toward the purchase, relocation and expansion of a timber manufacturing business in Watson Lake, Yukon. This occasion follows opening day for the manufacturing plant, an important milestone representing the completion of business acquisition and workforce training, and the beginning of business operations.
This three year project, which began in 2021, helped FKCLP with the purchase of Heartland Timber Homes, a company that specializes in the design and creation of timber home kits that can be shipped and assembled on site. Funding towards this project also supports the business’s relocation from Lac La Hache, British Columbia, to Watson Lake, as well as the expansion of an employment mentorship program and increased home production.
There are many positive impacts of owning and operating this business in Watson Lake. It provides the community, including members of the Liard First Nation, with opportunities for good jobs, work-specific training and skills development. It also creates mentorship opportunities for youth interested in pursuing a career in the trades.
This innovative approach to building homes in remote locations - where construction is expensive and housing options limited - helps address the need for culturally-appropriate, sustainably-built housing in Watson Lake. This also extends to the broader territory as FKCLP is able to expand the business to bid on contracts for other Yukon housing projects.
Through targeted investments in sustainable business development, local economic growth and job creation, the Government of Canada is supporting Indigenous partners, organizations, businesses and communities to help grow Northern community-driven and regionally-focused initiatives.
“The funding we received from CanNor for this acquisition supports our vision of empowering our First Nations to build capacity, provide training and much needed employment for our members. This funding program speaks to the fundamental need for collaborative programs that improve the lives of our Indigenous people in Canada. Once we are in production, this acquisition could profoundly change the lack of affordable housing, not just for our members but for all First Nations who are in desperate need of more homes.”
Liard First Nation Chief Stephen Charlie
“Northerners and Indigenous peoples know what it takes to help communities stay strong, resilient and growing. Our government is continuing to work with partners, businesses, and organizations by investing in projects that promote local economic growth, sustainable business development and the creation of good jobs. The purchase, relocation and expansion of Heartland Timber Homes in Watson Lake is part of that growth, opportunity and partnership.”
The Honourable Dan Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs, PrairiesCan and CanNor
“Since First Kaska Construction LP relocated Heartland Timber Homes to beautiful Watson Lake, the positive impacts have been felt throughout the community. Their innovative work has opened doors for many citizens of Watson Lake and Liard First Nation. I look forward to this project continuing to build capacity and prosperity in the community, as the organization expands mentorship opportunities and increases home production.”
Dr. Brendan Hanley, Member of Parliament for Yukon
“It is with a great deal of pride that we were able to access funds through CanNor to make the acquisition of Heartland Timber Homes. This business opportunity can be of great benefit to us, along with other First Nations, for the supply of much needed housing which is more traditional than what we have been providing in the past. We are grateful that there are programs available within CanNor that genuinely assist First Nations and their pursuit to self-governance.”
Jasper Lamouelle, Chief Executive Officer, First Kaska
First Kaska is the economic development corporation of the Liard First Nation. Located in Watson Lake, Yukon, First Kaska provides a range of construction, transportation and energy services to the public and private sector.
The project, Acquisition of Loeklsog Homes Ltd., began in 2021 and is scheduled to be completed in 2024. Loekslog Homes Ltd. operates as Heartland Timber Homes.
The official opening of the manufacturing plant marks an important milestone for FKCLP – the business acquisition and workforce training have been completed and operations can now begin.
Funding towards the business relocation, construction, workforce training and the first phase of home construction is delivered through Inclusive Diversification and Economic Advancement in the North (IDEANorth).
Funding towards the purchase of Heartland Timber Homes is delivered through Northern Indigenous Economic Opportunities Program (Entrepreneurship Business Development).
The total cost of the project is $5,866,676.
Press Secretary and Communications Advisor
Office of the Minister of Northern Affairs, PrairiesCan and CanNor
Communications Advisor, Yukon
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