Dr Gurdev Singh Gill, Pillar of Canadian Healthcare; First Punjabi to receive Order of BC

by Manjari Singh

In a somber turn of events, Canada mourns the loss of a true pioneer in the field of medicine, Dr Gurdev Singh Gill, who, at the age of 92, bid farewell to the world earlier this week. Dr Gill, renowned as the first Indo-Canadian to practice medicine in Canada from 1957, leaves behind a profound legacy of compassion and commitment to healthcare, especially in the rural regions of Punjab.

Dr Gill’s journey began in 1949 when he left his homeland for Canada. Working in a mill, he completed his grade XII education and went on to graduate from the University of British Columbia (UBC), setting the stage for a remarkable career in medicine. In 1990, he became the first Punjabi to receive the Order of BC, a testament to his decades of iconic leadership within the Canadian community.

However, Dr Gill’s contributions extended beyond the borders of Canada. In 1995, he spearheaded a movement in collaboration with the Indo-Canadian Friendship Society, focusing on the welfare of people in the villages of Hoshiarpur, Ropar, Nawan Shahr, Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Gurdaspur, and Ludhiana. Dr Gill was a driving force behind at least 27 clinics, leaving an indelible mark on the healthcare landscape.

Former President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, appreciating Dr Gill’s humanitarian efforts, visited Gill’s village, Kharoudi, in 2003 to inaugurate various development projects. Dr Gill’s contributions were not confined to healthcare alone; his group actively participated in projects involving concrete roads, parks, libraries, solar-powered streetlights, septic tanks, drinking water facilities, and providing local schools with computers and technology.

In addition to his medical prowess, Dr Gill was a vocal advocate against the human rights violations faced by immigrants. His commitment to justice and equality resonated not only within the medical community but across broader societal issues.

Dr Gill’s passing marks the end of an era, but his legacy will continue to inspire generations. As we reflect on his remarkable journey from a young immigrant to a stalwart in Canadian healthcare, we honor Dr Gurdev Singh Gill for his unwavering dedication to healing, compassion, and social justice. Canada has lost a true Good Samaritan, but his impact on the lives he touched will endure, a beacon for all those who follow in his footsteps.

Manjari Singh

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