Born in Edmonton, Alberta, Charles first came to the NWT for a summer job while attending the U of A, and worked out of Hay River for 3 seasons with NTCL. After receiving his BA from Faculté St. Jean, Charles moved to Yellowknife in 1976 to work for the City. He was a volunteer fire fighter for 7 years.
In 1979, along with some local partners, Charles started CJCD Radio Ltd., leaving the City and becoming manager. In 1980 he bought out his partners, eventually, with his wife Eileen, becoming sole owners. In 1984 he was elected to Yellowknife City Council, and in 1985 became President of the NWT Association of Communities. In 1986 his wife and he started Sashas Jewellery and Giftware Ltd.
In 1991 Charles was elected MLA for Frame Lake, a position he held for 16 years. For 8 of those years he was elected to Cabinet, holding many portfolios over the years. While an MLA, Charles was involved in working to see the NWT Human Rights Act passed and ensuring it was, at the time, the most progressive Act of its’ kind in Canada.
Charles and Eileen sold the jewellery store in 2005 and the radio station in 2007. Charles retired in 2007 and since then has focused on volunteering in Yellowknife. He is President of the Yellowknife Community Foundation, President of the Yellowknife Rotary Club for 2013/14, Chapter member with Breakfast for Learning AB/NWT Chapter, and Director with the Midnight Sun Fly-in Association. Charles and Eileen own a company that leases out commercial space in Yellowknife. Charles was appointed Chair of the NWT Human Rights Commission July 1, 2012.