Born in Johannesburg in 1947, Martin was the older of two sons. Max Charney, Martin’s father, financed his brother Daniel’s Anglo African Glass factory. In 1963, the family immigrated to Canada, fearing a future of political uncertainty in South Africa. The family lived in Montreal for seven years before moving back to South Africa in 1970. During this time, Martin graduated from high school and completed a four-year bachelor of commerce degree at Sir George Williams University.
Upon returning to South Africa in 1970, Martin married Yaffa Franco. The couple had one daughter and divorced in 1980. In 1982, Martin married his second wife, Basia, with whom he had four children. Each of Martin’s five children was born in Johannesburg. Martin supported his family working both as a real estate broker in South Africa and as a finance resource consultant concentrating on factoring accounts receivable in Toronto.
Prompted by worsening violence in South Africa, Martin returned to Canada with his family in 1999, settling in Thornhill. Martin and Basia divorced soon after coming to Canada and Martin eventually remarried a Canadian, Judy Rosenberg. In Canada, Martin continued the same line of work he had been engaged in in South Africa, although he had to rebuild his business. Today, he volunteers with a number of different Jewish organizations and is a member of Chabad Lubavitch.