O’Brien Institute mourns community leader and colleague, Charlie Fischer

“Charlie was a tireless advocate for the things he believed in."

Charlie Fischer was one of those Calgarians who personify the ideal Albertan – he was a respected oil and gas leader, a community builder, a proud Canadian and a philanthropist. Charlie was also pragmatic and put people first, believing that it’s the responsibility of individuals, industry and government to look after those less fortunate. He was also a disrupting voice and effective champion for patients across the province.

It was in his capacity as cofounder of IMAGINE Citizens Collaborating for Health that Charlie also became a part of the O’Brien Institute family. In that role, he was driven, sharp and passionate.

“The only purpose of the healthcare system is to serve the patient,” Charlie once told a group of IMAGINE and Institute members in 2016. “But it’s the patient that’s made to wait or drop everything to fit into the system. It’s as if the system prioritizes its own process and bureaucracy, over the patient. That’s what needs to change.”

As a volunteer, Charlie left his mark on the healthcare system, at the University of Calgary, and with organizations such as IMAGINE Citizens, said O’Brien Institute administrative director Dr. Jamie Day, PhD.

“His dedication to improving Albertans' health experiences and outcomes was impressive, and the future societal impacts of IMAGINE will be an ongoing addition to his legacy,” she added.

Charlie Fisher died on June 17, 2020.

More on Charlie from his family

To his loved ones, Charlie was a man who cared – he cared about people, cared about principles and cared about getting things done.

“Charlie had strong views and strong values, yes, but he developed solutions and got results by finding common ground. In Charlie's books, a solution meant that everyone could walk away from the table feeling they had been heard and were part of the solution. Charlie was a man who truly walked his talk. Guided unwaveringly by his principles and always a man of integrity, if Charlie saw a need for change, he rolled up his sleeves and set to work to make it better.”

More on Charlie from IMAGINE Citizens

Judy Birdsell, who co-founded IMAGINE Citizens with Charlie, said this of the late community leader: “Charlie was a tireless advocate for the things he believed in. He gained profile and influence in the oil and gas sector and used that credibility to build awareness and support for initiatives that would make a difference, often for people without power or privilege. His focus and actions have been centered around building a better community for all.”