Construction begins on Arviat modular home factory
$50M build promises jobs, training in Nunavut’s Kivalliq region; expected to employ about 40 people when complete
Work is underway to build a modular home factory in Arviat thanks to the arrival of construction materials on this summer’s sealift.
The $50-million project is led by Sakku Investments Corp., the business arm of the Kivalliq Inuit Association.
Sakku, the Government of Nunavut and the federal government all pitched in funding, said Guillaume Guida, Sakku’s vice-president of business development. It’s projected to be operational in 2025, according to Guida.
While the factory will help with Nunavut’s housing crisis, Guida said it will also provide benefits to the people who end up working there. It’s expected the factory will employ about 40 people once it opens.
“The first goal of this project was always to provide proper training and help increase the labour pool in the region, help increase the involvement of Inuit of our region into the construction industry,” he said in an interview.
The factory — an indoor, year-round operation — will be used to manufacture modular homes that will be shipped to communities where they will be assembled.
In what Guida described as conventional “stick-and-build” construction, workers might rush to finish during Nunavut’s short summer construction season.
That won’t be the case at Arviat’s modular home factory, he said.
“You’re not in a rush due to construction season being extremely short, you can build inside all year long,” he said, adding the end result should be better-quality homes for Nunavummiut.
Why is Arviat the location for the factory?
The hamlet’s population of 2,864, according to 2021 census data, makes it the third-largest community in Nunavut. Despite its size, said Guida, the community lacks job opportunities that nearby Rankin Inlet and Baker Lake have through Agnico Eagle’s Meliadine gold mine.
“You do have a workforce in Arviat that is eager to work,” Guida said.
“It will provide meaningful employment in the construction industry where you can go home to your family every day.”
In addition, Guida said, Sakku saw Arviat as a community that would benefit from the added housing stock created by the factory.
Joe Savikataaq Jr., Arviat’s mayor, agreed with Guida about employment challenges in his community.
He said residents welcome the factory and he’s optimistic about the jobs and training skills it will provide once it becomes operational.
Savikataaq welcomes the new homes that might arrive in his community as well as newly-trained carpenters, electricians and other skilled workers who will build them.
“I’m very looking forward to all the houses being produced and everyone else also getting their houses built in the North, for the North,” Savikataaq said.
“I’d like to thank Sakku for going to Arviat … Not only me, the whole hamlet is thankful for that.”
Guida said Sakku is working on developing training programs that will be offered onsite as construction on the factory progresses.
He said the new facility will change the way houses are built in the North, and provide community-based workers to assemble and maintain them.
“One of our goals is to show, I think eventually, that it is possible to manufacture in the North,” Guida said.
“Houses that are being built are done by Inuit, for Inuit, and not completed by remote workforce coming from an imported workforce coming from other provinces of Canada.”