“Proudly representing the advancement of professional doulas in the Province of Ontario.”
Our Objective: The Association of Ontario Doulas promotes the development of professional doulas from diverse backgrounds and experiences, and advocates for client-directed support in the province of Ontario.
Our Strategic Priorities:
The Strategic Priorities of the AOD works to promote professional perinatal support persons through the alignment of its primary initiatives and set strategic priorities.
We recognize and honour that labour and postpartum doulas may also be proficient as:
- fertility doulas
- perinatal and childbirth educators
- infant or gestational loss and termination support persons
- chest-feeding and infant feeding supports
How we meet our Objectives and Strategic Priorities:
- Continuing education and support for professional doulas through strategic programming that is inclusive, diverse, and engaging
- Working to establish funding and access for professional doula support services (i.e. third party payers)
- Promoting doulas and their support to the general public, government, other health professions and provincial stakeholders, and local perinatal associations or organizations.
- Providing professional guidance to doulas through updates on industry related topics or developments via monthly newsletters, social media posts, and other formal means of communication.
- Mobilizing strong internal and external community relationships and partnerships.
Advancing the profession for the betterment of Clients through Client-Directed Support:
Doula work is currently an unregulated profession in Ontario and at this point in time there are no current plans or umbrella network to move towards proclaiming regulation. A College of Doulas would work to regulate professional doulas and the AOD aims to build its current strategic priorities around, but not limited to, that one-day possibility.
The AOD’s primary goal is to strategize, mobilize, and advocate on the behalf of Ontario doulas and their clients.
Doulas are in a place to currently position themselves as advocates and influencers in Ontario. Clients can be helped by having consistent support throughout their experience, being supported in non-physical and physical ways, and by ensuring that informed consent and the clients prerogatives are being respected.
Doulas are also in a place to relieve the pressure currently being felt in many environments of the Ontario health care system. Doulas can work to rebuild a client-directed approach and to remove practices that do not represent current client experiences or expectations. By focusing on a client-directed approach to doula support the client is created the opportunity to invite whom they wish to attend and support them in their experiences. This enhances the autonomy of both the client and of the professional doula for the betterment and well-being of Ontario.
Studies have shown that doulas help clients make informed choices, have better birth and chest-feeding outcomes, and alleviate the pressures on an overdrawn institutional structures. Doulas also ensure cultural humility, practices, and client preferences are foremost considered in the support of their clients as a whole. Additionally doulas help fill gaps in Ontario’s health care system in some remote communities where midwives or doctors are limited or are the only professionals providing perinatal support.
Continuing education is an encouraged part of membership with the AOD. The AOD is proud to include continuing education opportunities for its members as a part of its updated strategic priorities. These educational experiences will provide the opportunity for a foundation of diverse speakers, recent research findings and long term practice considerations, in a variety of learning methods, from webinars to live in-person trainings. Annually the AOD will sponsor a speakers series or 1 day-convention, generally in the month leading up to its Annual General Meeting.
Promoting the value of doula support to the general public:
Doulas are passionate about the contribution they make to the well-being of Ontario clients, and as part of the AOD’s strategic priorities our members will focus on expanding our inter-professional collaboration with other professions.
By educating and forming relationships with industry stakeholders and partners, and our client-directed consumer base the AOD hopes to govern the respect and acceptance of doulas as authorities in the care and support of Ontario clients.
Doulas support the whole person and their chosen community. They do this by focusing on providing continuous support, informed decision making, and a client-directed approach.
Strong Internal and External Relationships or Partnerships through Collaboration:
AOD members works to collaborate with one another and mobilize in several ways:
– through formal and informal networking
– through regional networks established across the province
– through the education and inclusion of diverse voices
– through educational opportunities that speak to a our goals of collaboration, inclusion, and the advancement of professional doulas
Our members come from a variety of learned and traditional backgrounds and have affiliations or experiences with many related modalities. The AOD aims to work closely with related practitioners, associations, and potential colleges to ensure that the advocacy and strategy for Ontario doulas is on-going, collaborative, and inclusive of a client-directed approach to provincial well-being and growth.
In 2020/2021 the AOD Strategic Priorities will focus on:
- Updating our strategic priorities to represent the current climate and needs of professional doulas in Ontario. These strategies will work to advocate and prioritize professional doulas and the well-being of Ontario clients vis a vis doula access and client-directed support.
- Setting up transparent monthly communication channels between the voted-in governing AOD Board and its membership. Updates will include, but are not limited to provincial policy regulations or changes, developments with industry stakeholders, budgetary spending for advancement of AOD members, and educational opportunities.
- Diversifying its marketing, membership, and governance to be representative of Ontario doulas from black, indigenous, LGBTQ2TSAI+, racialized and marginalized communities.
- Working to expand collaborative partnerships to uplift the voice and inclusion of doulas from many backgrounds and experience levels (i.e. certified, certifying, traditional, mentored). At this point in time the AOD, as a professional association will not be including self-trained doulas as a part of their membership criteria without previous mentoring or references.
Note: The annual strategic plan is shared with members at the Annual General Meeting (October of each year).