Standards and Bylaws

All A.O.D. members agree to abide by A.O.D.’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice.

All Association of Ontario Doula members agree to abide by its Code of Ethical Conduct (see below), Practice Guidelines, and Bylaws.

*For copies of the AOD bylaws all registered members can email to be provided a PDF copy.

In accordance with governing bylaws and association governance, AOD Members, Board Members, and Advisory Committee Members agree to abide by the Association of Ontario Doulas’ Code of Ethics when they register or renew their annual membership.

Association of Ontario Doulas –  ETHICAL CONDUCT GUIDELINES

Professional Expectations For Representation and Conduct by Members of the AOD

(A) Respectability at all times.
All members will maintain high standards of personal conduct in their capacity or identity as a professional support person.  This includes their conduct with clients, industry stakeholders, and other professional members within and outside the Association of Ontario Doulas.  Discrimination, prejudice, racism, or harassment are not accepted by the AOD and its members. 

(B) Proficiency and Professional Development.
Members strive to remain proficient in the current professional practices for Ontario, be up-to-date on evidence based performance functions, and continue to educate themselves about client-directed support.  The member will maintain awareness about how their affiliation and conduct with related organizations, institutions, and other support persons can benefit the development and competence of our profession as a whole.

(C) Inclusivity and Integrity. 
All members should act in accordance with the highest standard of professional inclusivity and integrity.  AOD representatives and its members will work together to create a safe and trusted space for the development of strategic priorities related to its professional goals.

Ethical Responsibility to Clients and Fellow Support Workers

(A) Primacy of Client’s Interests and the Support of the Whole  
Our members uphold their clients mental, physical, emotional, cultural, and traditional sense of security at all times.  Members will uphold the same support for their professional colleagues and for the advancement of our profession.

(B) Rights and Prerogatives of Clients.
Members should make every effort to foster maximum self-determination on the part of their clients.  It is recognized that clients have diverse needs, experiences, cultures, and traditions.  Members will work with their clients to ensure that they are feeling professionally supported in a safe manner at all times.

(C) Confidentiality and Privacy.
Members should respect the privacy of clients and colleagues, and hold in confidence all information obtained in the course of professional service or interactions.  This includes obtaining written permission to share personal details, photos and back up coverage requests.  This is inclusive of all media options and/or platforms.

(D) Obligation to Serve.
Members should assist each client seeking support either by providing services or making appropriate referrals.  Members recognize that there may be circumstances where they cannot act in a professional support capacity and as such will work with the client to find support options that feel safe, inclusive, and appropriate for the clients needs, experiences, or goals.
Members also recognize their obligation to work in a collaborative manner with colleagues and stakeholders from diverse experiences, backgrounds, fields, and knowledge.   At no time should bias, prejudice, discrimination, or racism affect a client/ support person relationship (as per the AOD Equity and Inclusion Policy).

(E) Reliability.
When a member agrees to work with a particular client, their obligation is to do so reliably and in accordance with the professional standards of the AOD, for the term of the agreement.
Members will also maintain professional reliability to colleagues by creating safe environments for engagement and the diversification and inclusion of support persons from multiple backgrounds and experiences.

(F) Fees.
When setting fees, the members should ensure that they are fair, reasonable, considerate, commensurate with service performed and with due regard for the client’s ability to pay.   The member must clearly state their fees to the client, and describe the services provided, terms of payment and refund policies.  Written contracts are encouraged by the AOD for any professional support persons representing the association, even for pro bono or charitable support.

Ethical Responsibility of Represented Organizations or Streams to AOD Members (i.e. AOD Members, including members of the Board)

(A) Respect, Fairness, and Courtesy.
Members of all represented organizations or traditional streams will treat colleagues with respect, courtesy, fairness and good faith at all times.  Those who act outside the accordance of professional conduct will not be permitted to membership with the AOD or to represent the AOD.  This includes respect for the body and the mind of all persons regardless of identity, business ethics or practices, and professional conduct towards colleagues or clients.   

(B) Collaboration and Business Conduct
Members have the responsibility to relate to their colleagues with full professional consideration, regardless of affiliation, experience, or training.  All members and all organizations represented by members will ensure ethical business practices and conduct are practiced at all times.  This includes but is not limited to: protecting and respecting the materials of others, not working to harm others business practices or goals, not engaging in libel or slander, and upholding safety and inclusion for diverse collaboration, use of language, and engagement at all times.  Organizations or persons who do not uphold these standards will not be invited to represent the AOD.

(C) Safety, Equity, and Inclusion

Members or represented organizations will not engage in behaviour that could be deemed harassing, discriminatory, prejudiced, racist, or likewise.  Verbal or physical harassment or harm will not be tolerated by the AOD.  Members may be removed if a charge is filed against them outside the AOD or through the AODs formal grievance policy and procedure.

Ethical Responsibility to the Perinatal Support Professions

(A) Maintaining the Integrity of the Profession.
Members should uphold and advance the values, ethics, knowledge and mission of their respective profession(s).

(B) Community Service.
Members should assist their respective profession(s) in making perinatal support services available to the general public through a variety of strategic priorities, as supported by the AOD, community partnerships, and their initiatives.

Ethical Responsibility to Society

(A)Promoting Gestational and Infant Welfare.
Members should promote the general health of birthing persons and their babies in accordance with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) statements on the birthing process, labour and birth support, infant feeding, and postpartum support, and whenever possible, that of their clients’ immediate support community.

Questions about this policy? Please email