New CAO Announced

Fort Frances, Ontario – 2024/02/15 – The District of Rainy River Services Board (DRRSB) is pleased to announce that Charene Gillies, a former resident of Fort Frances, will be moving home to take on the role of Chief Administrative Officer. In this role, Charene will be responsible for planning, directing, and monitoring the delivery of Ontario Works, Children’s Services, Community Housing, and Paramedic Services within the Rainy River District.

Charene brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the CAO position, having held Director positions within the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services with the Strategic Information & Business Intelligence Branch, Modernizing Services Branch, Transformation & Modernization Branch, and most recently, Office of Women’s Social and Economic Opportunity.

In community-based leadership roles, Charene was President of the Board for a large child-care centre, was the first Program Coordinator for the Kenora Rainy River District Crisis Response Service, and held the positions of Executive Director for the Rainy River District Women’s Shelter of Hope and Kaushee’s Place, located in Whitehorse, Yukon.

“We are thrilled to welcome Charene to the District of Rainy River Services Board,” said Debbie Ewald, Chair of DRRSB. “Her significant experience working within the provincial government, which focused on enabling the delivery of more integrated, accessible, and cost-effective programs and services for children, youth, vulnerable individuals, families, and communities, aligns seamlessly with our mandate. Along with her proven track record of leadership, we look forward to Charene’s guidance and direction as we move forward with our strategic goals and priorities.”

While Charene has spent the past 21 years in Toronto, through that time, she consistently reminded everyone she encountered that she is “a northerner at heart”.  Along with her family, she is excited to have an opportunity to return home.

Charene will begin her employment with the DRRSB on Monday, March 4, 2024.



Heather Latter, Communications Officer, District of Rainy River Services Board, 807-274-5349 ext. 243 or

Media Release: New CAO Announced (PDF)

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