The Yukon government has selected a major international construction firm to build the new continuing care facility in Whitehorse's Whistle Bend neighbourhood.

PCL Construction won the estimated $158 million contract, one of the largest ever awarded in Yukon.

The government says competition for the contract was a "rigorous process" and PCL was the highest-ranked bidder from a short list of three firms.

The final terms of the design-build agreement have yet to be ironed out, but Yukon's unionized trade workers are optimistic. 

"We have had preliminary discussions," said Jeff Sloychuk of the Yukon Carpenters Union. "We're not in a position to talk about where we're at on that yet."

Sloychuk says PCL has a good reputation for hiring locally. The company recently reached a deal with the union over hiring Yukoners to work on the new Whitehorse hospital expansion.

"I think PCL has the right attitude on these sorts of projects," Sloychuk said. 

The government is also planning a networking session for local contractors to meet with the PCL team. 

Construction of the 150-bed extended care facility is expected to begin early next year. The targeted completion date is in 2018.

The new facility will provide 24-hour support and care for seniors and others who are no longer able to live on their own.

The government predicts that by 2031, nearly a quarter of all Yukoners will be over the age of 65.