Skip To Content

Athabasca University

Fil Fraser

Adjunct Professor, Communication Studies

Contact

Biography

Fil Fraser has been a life-long broadcaster, journalist, television program director and administrator, and a radio, television and film producer. Based in Edmonton, Alberta, he is the author of the best selling memoir, Alberta's Camelot – Culture and the Arts in the Lougheed Years. He has served as a member of the Board of Directors of Telefilm Canada since November 2003, and is a member of the boards of a number of national and regional organizations. He is Chair of the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Arts Awards Foundation, created under the patronage of the late Lieutenant Governor, Hon. Lois E. Hole. He is a member of the Order of Canada, and was inducted into the Edmonton Cultural Hall of Fame in October, 2005.

Career Highlights

Fraser began his broadcasting career with Foster Hewitt's radio station CKFH, Toronto in 1951. He later worked at radio stations in Timmins and in Barrie, Ontario (where he was Sports Director and the play-by-play voice of the Barrie Flyers). In the mid-fifties he was a journalist in the CFCF news department in his home town of Montreal, Quebec.

He moved to Regina in 1958, and worked in public relations in both government and private sectors before founding and publishing, in 1960, the Regina Weekly Mirror, which chronicled the introduction of Medicare by the Tommy Douglas Government. Between 1963 and 1969, Fraser was a writer/editor and health educator in the field of alcoholism and addictions. He was the Director of Education at the Saskatchewan Bureau on Alcoholism, and in 1965, he moved to Edmonton to work in the same capacity with the Division of Alcoholism of the Alberta Department of Health (now AADAC).

In 1969, he joined the Metropolitan Edmonton Educational Television Association (MEETA), forerunner of Alberta's ACCESS TV NETWORK, as program director of Canada's first educational television station, which went on the air in March, 1970. He was the "co-anchor" for CBC Edmonton's supper hour news and public affairs program in 71/72 and 72/73, and the host of ITV Television’s Fil Fraser Show in 1974. During the same period, he formed his own production company and wrote, produced and directed several educational films for television. In 1976 he produced one of Canada's most successful feature films, WHY SHOOT THE TEACHER, following with MARIE ANNE in 1977 and THE HOUNDS OF NOTRE DAME in 1980. All were award winners, receiving both theatrical and television release.

In 1974, Fraser organized and chaired the first Alberta Film Festival, now known as the AMPIA Awards, in which his films were later to win several prizes. He chaired the first Commonwealth Games Film Festival in 1978, and, in 1979, was a founder of the Banff International Television Festival.

Between 1989 and 1992, Fraser served a three-year term as Chief Commissioner of the Alberta Human Rights Commission. He was President and Chief Executive Officer of VISION TV from January 1995 to December 2000.

Public Service

Fraser was a member of the 1977 Alberta Task Force on Film, which recommended the establishment of the Alberta Motion Picture Development Corporation. In 1985 federal Communications Minister Marcel Masse appointed him as a member of the Federal Task Force on Broadcasting Policy (Caplan/Sauvageau), whose September, 1986 report formed the basis for a new Canadian Broadcasting Act. He was appointed in August 1987, to the Canadian Multiculturalism Council by the then Secretary of State, the Honourable David Crombie, and was Chair of the Council's media committee. On behalf of the Minister of State for Multiculturalism, the Honourable Gerry Weiner, Fraser organized and chaired a National Forum on Broadcasting and Multiculturalism, “Reflections in the Electronic Mirror”, held in Toronto in May, 1988. In 1990, Fraser was appointed to membership on “The Citizens’ Forum on Canada’s Future, a Federal Royal Commission also known as the “Spicer” Commission.

In 1994, at the request of Mayor of Edmonton, he chaired a Task Force on Access to Information, which produced the basis for a modern access by-law for the City of Edmonton.

Writing

Fraser is the author of Alberta’s Camelot: Culture and the Arts in the Lougheed Years, published by Lone Pine Publishing. He has published numerous articles and stories in newspapers, magazines and journals. He contributed an essay to the book, “Farewell to the 70s”, published by Nelson in 1979, and to a 2005 book, “ Alberta – A State of Mind”, published by Key Porter Books in celebration of the 100 th anniversary of the Province of Alberta .. His memoir on Canadian multiculturalism, Black Like Me, appeared in the 100th Anniversary issue of Saturday Night Magazine in January 1987. His columns on human rights, multiculturalism, and a broad variety of other subjects have appeared in the Toronto Star, the Edmonton Journal, the Ottawa Citizen, the Montreal Gazette and a number of other Canadian dailies. He is currently working on a biography of Canadian track star Harry Jerome.

Teaching

Fraser has taught extension courses on subjects ranging from “Great Religions” and “Great Civilizations” to “Man and Chemical Comforts” at the Regina campus of the University of Saskatchewan, and at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. In 1992 he developed and, up until the time he took up his duties at Vision TV in 1995, taught a credit course on “The Evolution of Human Rights” for 3rd year students in the Faculty of Law at the University of Alberta. He is developing a graduate course on Canadian film for Athabasca University, where he is an adjunct professor.

Fil Fraser was born and educated in Montreal, and has been happily married to Gladys Odegard for more than twenty-two years.

Updated February 25 2015 by Student & Academic Services

AU, CANADA'S OPEN UNIVERSITY, is an internationally recognized leader in online and distance learning.