One thing you notice right away about Aliza is that she wears many different hats. She is a lawyer, a tireless advocate on behalf of her clients. She is a family advisor at Sick Kids, working on many hospital initiatives and policy making as a representative of the voice of children and their families. Aliza is also a mother to two teenagers and a collection of exotic birds and animals.
Before entering law school, Aliza pursued a Religious Studies degree from York University which she believes has given her a strong foundation to relate to clients of all beliefs and cultures. She is a strong proponent of diversity acceptance and sensitivity training. Aliza is very active in pro bono casework for many religious institutions.
All of her many roles inform her advocacy for her clients - she believes in taking a holistic approach to legal representation. She is strongly committed to rehabilitation and reintegrating clients into their families, work force and society and ensuring their long terms needs are covered by their claims.
Recently, Aliza represented the families of Holly Harrison, Marilee Towie and Benjamin Twiddy, the three teens who died on April 29, 2012 at 917 Dundas Street West in Whitby, at a coroner’s inquest into their deaths.
Already an emotionally-trying case, it was even more so for Aliza because she had known one of the families for years, having worked with them in a previous case. Despite the tragic deaths, Aliza noted how rewarding it was to be involved in inquest review process. It was especially emotional yet beneficial to observe and facilitate the interaction between the first responders and the families.
Aliza was impressed by team effort of all of the lawyers, the jurors who are able to ask questions, and the family which led to a detailed and proactive set of recommendations that will protect so many lives from fire in the future. The full list of recommendations was formally delivered to all agencies and ministries responsible.
Since 2011, Aliza has been a family advisor at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) and she was elected Chair of the Family-Centred Care Advisory Council in 2013. SickKids has advanced a culture of child and family centred care. Families of patients are consulted and participate in many facets of hospital life and policy. They consult on the design of the atrium and Ronald McDonald facility as well as policy such as parental presence at induction of anaesthesia and presence at nursing shift handovers.
Aliza recently was given the opportunity to review and comment from a child and family perspective on mental health portal of About Kids Health. Aliza has also worked on committees with her children to help design the consent and capacity guidelines of youth to a questionnaire for parents, that details for hospital staff the sensory and cognitive needs of children entering the hospital.
Aliza feels inspired by the positive energy at Sick Kids and their proactive view on helping their patients in a very child centric manner. Aliza adopts many of the best practices she has learned from this experience to her own clients and has been able to work very effectively with clients that are also patients of Sick Kids due to her familiarity with the culture, staff and facility.
More recently Aliza was invited to sit on a panel that reviews grants for children's medical research throughout the province. Aliza is currently also a member of the Faculty Council at the Bloomberg School of Nursing at the University of Toronto.
Aliza really likes the rehabilitation side of personal injury law. Whether researching solutions for 'permanent disabilities' or trying to maximize accident benefit funds available as early as possible to help victims get better, Aliza enjoys and is committed to finding solutions for clients. She has helped victims improve the quality of their lives through alternative therapy, special education and even nutrition and vitamins - whatever helps. For example she has recently learned about the benefits of magnesium cream for trauma patients and now keeps a tube in her office. Aliza also tries to get to the bottom of any sleep issues her clients have. "Fix sleep and you fix everything," she says. She tries to teach her clients and their families (and remind herself!) to be mindful and be creative to improve the quality of life after an accident or traumatic event and live every day to its fullest.
Aliza's clients and colleagues alike are lucky to benefit from her holistic perspective and range of diverse experience.