Ethics is a set of concepts and principles that guide us in determining what behavior will help (good) or harm (bad) others. While each individual develops their own moral code, members of a profession have a shared moral code of principles that guide their actions and beliefs about what is right and proper. For members of the disability services profession in Alberta, those principles and the actions that flow from them are laid out in the ADWA Code of Professional Ethics and Conduct.
By virtue of their membership in ADWA, members commit to following this code of ethics to the best of their ability is their professional work. Members who violate this code in their work may be reported to ADWA and the circumstances surrounding the alleged violation be investigated. Individuals who are found to be in serious violation of the ethics code may have their ADWA membership suspended or revoked. Remedial action may be required in order to be reinstated. As well, those who hold a certification from ADWA may find that certification in jeopary, as ADWA membership is required for active certification status. An appeal process is in place for members who disagree with ADWA in the matter of decisions regarding themselves or the processes used.
Ethics codes, by their nature, cannot predict every situation that will arise in practice and the ethical choice of action may not be clear. ADWA provides additional interpretation of some of the more challenging and complex areas of practice. However, there were always be situations that provide ethical dilemmas for professionals. In these circumstances, ADWA joins with other professional associaitons in recommending that individuals consult with a more experienced professional, such as a supervisor or apply an ethical decision-making process. ADWA has outlined an ethical decision-making process that may be used in interpreting the code in the context of the situation and individuals affected.