Victor Gillman

Biological Sciences Technology '69

Published on January 31, 2019

Alumni Award of Distinction '06

Fuelled by a lifelong passion for conservation, Victor Gillman helped make Canadian history in the 1980s when he was part of a team that negotiated and implemented the first comprehensive land claim north of the 60th parallel.

Signed in 1984, the Inuvialuit Final Agreement protects the rights of the Inuvialuit, while protecting and preserving local wildlife in an area of the high western Arctic that includes parts of Northwest Territories and Yukon.

“There were no other examples to work from. We were on new ground,” says Gillman, who was working for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and contributed expertise in the area of fisheries management. “Twenty-eight years later, this is still one of the most successful land claim structures in Canada.”

He notes the agreement has functioned with little to no litigation, unlike a lot of other land claims, and the parties involved continue to operate with a sense of commonality and trust.

Gillman spent nearly four decades in fish and wildlife management, retiring in 2006 as a DFO regional director. Today, he still dedicates much of his time to conservation in the North as chairman of a co-operative committee that helps to manage the Inuvialuit Final Agreement.

— Frank Landry