Grievance Policy

Use this page to file a grievance or receive more information

AOD employs a Grievance Policy to ensure accountability of all members in upholding AOD’s values and commitment to a positive doula support experience.

AOD Grievance Policy & Process
(Originally ratified February 2003, updated December 2018, April 2020, July 2021)

Association of Ontario Doulas

Grievance Policy & Process

Last updated July 2021 

Policy number 11.0 Version 4
Drafted unknown unknown unknown           Approved by Board on July July July 28, 2021
Scheduled review date July 2022

AOD employs a Grievance Policy to ensure accountability of all members in upholding AOD’s values and commitment to a positive doula support experience.

AOD Grievance Policy & Process

General:  The Association of Ontario Doulas Grievance Policy has been designed to ensure the highest quality of service and professionalism for AOD members. This Grievance Policy abides by the AOD’s Mission Statement, Code of Ethics, Statement of Goals and Standards of Practice. All AOD members are subject to the Grievance Policy. Discussions of the grievance/incident by the Grievance Committee are confidential.


The purpose of the Grievance Policy is to provide a vehicle in which a Grievance, or Incident, may be brought to a fair and complete investigation, and appropriate action is taken. The Grievance Policy will also provide, in case of professional misconduct by an AOD member, a mechanism through which the public and community of doulas may be protected. In the case where a grievance is lodged against a non-AOD member, this Grievance Policy will also provide procedural guidance. As per AOD governing bylaws the Past President receives the correspondence from the Grievance Form and then works with the sitting president to convene a committee of bipartisan members. If there is a complaint to be filed against a sitting board member or the entire board please refer to the Complaint Policy. 

Definition of Grievance Categories:


A Grievance is an objection lodged with the Association of Ontario Doulas against an AOD member in which they are accused of behaviour that violates the AOD’s Standards of Practice and/or Code of Ethics and policies. The client, their significant other, their family, a medical practitioner, a hospital administrator, or another doula may submit the grievance. 


An Incident is any potentially negative occurrence arising in prenatal, birth and/or postpartum periods that involve the doula as the provider. 


How to file a grievance: 

When submitting a grievance, please follow the steps below:

  • Complete the grievance form. Include all relevant facts and answer all fields. 
  • Email or upload any documentation to
  • The grievance must be received by no later than eighteen (18) months after the date of the alleged occurrence.
  • Grievances filed by complainants who wish to remain anonymous from the doula under review will be accepted if adequate documentation is provided in the filing of the grievance, and where the person filing the grievance has shown that they have concern for the welfare of themselves and/or their business due to the nature of the grievance filed.

Grievance Procedure:

  • The complainant will receive confirmation of receipt of the grievance 
  • Upon receipt of a grievance a committee will be formed within 14 days of confirmation of the receipt. 
  • A grievance committee will be chaired by a Past President, not currently sitting on the board. If a Past President is unavailable, the board will assign a past Vice President not currently sitting on the board. 
  • The chair will form a bipartisan Grievance Committee to review the submitted grievance and any related documents. The committee comprised no less than 4 voting members
  • The sitting President will receive all correspondence and details about the grievance but may choose to recuse themselves from the discussion or any voting.  The President will act as an intermediary between the Grievance Committee and the AOD Board once a final decision is prepared and is to be shared with the Board.  
  • The Grievance Committee will decide if the grievance holds merit and should continue in the grievance process.
  • The doula under review will be allowed to respond.
  • The Committee will evaluate the grievance and make recommendations for possible sanctions.
  • The Committee will notify the current sitting President who will bring it back to the board for a vote. 
  • All involved parties will be notified in writing by the Committee of the findings of the investigation and informed of any resulting actions recommended by the Committee.
  • Those who have a grievance filed against them by an anonymous person or person will receive details of the grievance outside the identity of the person/s who filed a complaint against them and will have the right to respond to the claims against them directly to the Grievance Committee through the formal process outlined in this AOD policy.
  • Committee deliberations and members will remain confidential and only the matters discussed in the letter to the involved parties will be disclosed to said parties, the AOD Board, and the certifying organization(s). 
  • The documents gathered for the investigation will remain on file with the Association of Ontario Doulas in perpetuity.

     (C)Acceptance of Decision

By engaging the AOD grievance process, the complainant must agree to accept, without question, any determination, conclusions and decisions made by the Committee, and voted on by the board, as final and binding. 

     (D) Confidentiality

All parties involved in the Grievance Process, including the complainant, the AOD member under review, members of the Committee and/or Board of Directors, and any third parties must agree to keep confidential for all times any verbal or written communications regarding the submission, mediation, negotiations, conclusions and/or sanctions of the objection filed with the Association of Ontario Doulas.


Actions that may be taken by the Grievance Committee include, but are not limited to:

  • No action;
  • A letter of reprimand;
  • A period of probation and recommendations to be determined by the Committee;
  • Removal from the AOD doula listings for a set period;
  • Notification of grievance finds to those who filed the grievance and any related institutions or persons;
  • Notification of grievance findings to the person’s Doula Certification Organization;
  • Removal from the AOD with 30 days’ notice, as outlined in AOD bylaws; and/or
  • Denial from renewing or participating in AOD membership in the future.

The Incident Report will be kept on file by the Grievance Committee Chair for two years and filed with the AOD Board for their records.

The complainant will be notified of the action and recommendations of the Grievance Committee.

If the grievance is deemed to be a grievance against a Certified Doula, the AOD may also forward it to the appropriate Doula Certification Organization for additional consideration.

Non-AOD Doula Grievance

If the public, the medical community or another doula objects to a non-AOD doula, the matter will be reviewed to determine the appropriate procedure.

  • The complainant will be informed that the doula is not an AOD member and that the AOD can do nothing about their actions within our scope.
  • Appropriate action by the Grievance Committee, including advice on resolving conflict, will be taken as outlined above for an AOD member with emphasis on the quality assurance provided by the AOD membership.  Sanctions, as outlined above, may be taken against the person when applicable.
  • The objection and information may be forwarded to the appropriate Doula Certification Organization for action. 


Grievance Filing