community Advocate in Ontario, Canada
For more than 30 years, Karen McCleave served the public as an Assistant Crown Attorney. She appeared in the Ontario and Superior Courts of Justice, primarily in York Region, Dufferin and Simcoe counties.
Karen handled a varied caseload, including domestic assault, sexual and child abuse, complex frauds and murder. She conducted dozens of jury trials, including several lengthy murder cases. She handled many high-profile and sensitive matters, such as those involving victims with intellectual and physical challenges.
Other responsibilities included running a Satellite Court to case managing Superior Court matters. She was the Crown representative on stakeholder committees such as regional child abuse protocols, delay reduction and community partnering.
Karen was designated to be a Part VI Ontario wiretap agent and a mentor for sexual violence prosecutions.
She’s been honoured with several awards, including the Doug Lucas Award for excellence in the pursuit of justice through science and two Ontario Excelsior Awards, both for Outstanding Achievement.
Karen was born and educated in Sault Ste Marie. She received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Western Ontario, received her LL.B. from the University of Windsor, and was called to the Ontario Bar.
Combining educating others with public speaking, she taught Crown colleagues, police, provincial prosecutors, paralegals, and community organizations in Ontario.
After departing the Crown’s Office, Karen served in 2017-2018 as a policy advisor to a Senator in Ottawa.
Her Board involvement included professional and public agencies. She was on the Editorial Board for the OCAA Newsletter and represented her Region on the Ontario Crown Attorneys Association Board.
Long active in civic and community affairs, she sat for nine years on the board of directors of Blue Hills Child and Family Centre, a children’s mental health agency. During that time, Karen developed expertise in governance, by-laws, and policies concerning not-for-profit agencies. She was appointed in 2020 to the Board of Trustees for the McMichael Canadian Art Collection.
In November, 2020, Karen was appointed by the Attorney-General to the Justice of the Peace Appointments Advisory Committee (JPAAC) for Central East Region. She is the Law Society's licensee member on that Committee.
As a long-time member of Beta Sigma Phi, Karen has raised funds for local, Canadian and international charities. She has volunteered at Feed the Hungry and the Salvation Army.