Kilrich gets a hand from Ottawa

Ottawa is subsidizing the expansion of a local construction company, but keeping a tight lid on the amount of the unusual public investment.

Ottawa is subsidizing the expansion of a local construction company, but keeping a tight lid on the amount of the unusual public investment.

Kilrich Industries is buying new equipment for its truss factory in the McCrae Industrial Park south of Whitehorse, said Gary Boyd, a company spokesperson.

“The truss plant has to be upgraded,” said Boyd.

Money from a government department is going to help the expansion, he said.

Bruce Luznar, who sits on Kilrich’s board of directors, confirmed the money is coming from the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, or Cannor.

But he wouldn’t confirm the amount until the expansion is officially announced next month.

“We’re putting out a press release in October,” said Luznar.

This is the first time Cannor is pledging money to a private business in Yukon.

In the last year, most of its funds have gone to public projects, including the revitalization of Dawson City’s waterfront, research facilities on Herschel Island, the Forty Mile Historic Site and a bureau on interpolar statistics.

Cannor has also pledged funds to nonprofits, such as the Great Northern Ski Company, which runs Mount Sima.

But the one-year-old department wouldn’t explain why a private business needs government help.

“I can’t give you any information on that because we haven’t announced it,” said Erin Macpherson, a spokesperson for Cannor.

Despite confirmation by Kilrich, Ottawa hasn’t cleared all of its public relations approvals, said Macpherson.

“We have an extensive process, not just for approving projects but for communicating projects,” she said.

One of those approvals is the “message event proposal,” a new policy implemented by the Conservatives, she said.

MEPs, as they’re known, have been used to tighten controls around the way government information is released to the public.

An investigation by the Canadian Press found that MEPs put political spin on what should be regular government announcements. MEPs have also been criticized by government experts for reducing transparency.

They’ve also expanded the purview of the Prime Minister’s Office over public relations.

Besides the MEP, Cannor also has departmental approvals to finish, said Macpherson.

The public will get the details – including the subsidy’s amount – when the government is ready, she said.

“We have our way to advise media when it happens,” she said.

Kilrich makes doors, windows, framing, insulation, shingles, siding and trusses; it’s virtually a one-stop shop for construction companies building in the Yukon.

It is partly owned by the Tr’ondek Hwech’in First Nation, the Kwanlin Dun First Nation, the Dakwakada Development Corporation and Dana Naye Ventures.

Contact James Munson at