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)
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 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.
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. If the objection 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.
An Incident is any potentially negative occurrence arising in prenatal, birth and/or postpartum periods that involve the doula as the provider. The incident is usually submitted by the doula themselves.
- Submitting an Objection
When submitting a grievance, please follow the steps below:
- Complete the grievance form below explaining the details of the objection. Include all relevant facts and answer all fields.
- Email all supporting documents to the past president, who will reach out for further details or documents once the grievance has been received. (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 (no connection to the person who filed the grievance, the person with a grievance filed against them, the sitting President or the Past President).
The objection must be received no later than eighteen (18) months after the date of the alleged occurrence.
Association of Ontario Doulas Grievance Procedure:
- The complainant will receive confirmation of receipt of the objection.
- The Past President will inform the sitting President of the grievance and will then convene a bipartisan Grievance Committee to review the submitted grievance and any related documents. 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 intermediary between the Grievance Committee and the AOD Board once a final decision is prepared and is to be shared with the Board.
- Any persons who have a personal or professional interest with the person who filed the grievance or a personal or professional conflict with the person who the grievance is filed against must recuse themselves from sitting on the committee. The President may request confirmation or details about such relationships to ensure a bipartisan committee is formed for each filed grievance with the AOD.
- The Grievance Committee will decide if the grievance hold merit and should continue in the grievance process.
- The doula under review will be given an opportunity to respond.
- The Committee will evaluate the objection and make recommendations of possible sanctions.
- 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.
- Committee deliberations 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 original certifying organization. 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 as final and binding.
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 time any and all 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 of time;
- 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.
Non-AOD Doula Grievance
If the public, the medical community or another doula lodges an objection against 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.