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Decorators & Designers Association of Canada (DDA Canada)
Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct

Approved February 13, 2019

1.0 Preamble

The reputation and credibility of DDA is based on our Members’ total commitment to ethical and professional business practices. Ethical behavior goes beyond following the letter of the law. It means practicing our profession with honesty, equity, dignity, integrity and social responsibility in a manner that fosters the respect of clients, colleagues, industry affiliates and the general public. Our Members’ recognize that while we serve our individual enterprises, we also act as stewards of our profession. It is the individual responsibility of each member of the Decorators & Designers Association of Canada to uphold the Code of Ethics and Bylaws of the Association.

Members are encouraged to enhance the mandate and works of the Association by volunteering their services and sharing their expertise by participating in a committee(s) or joining the Board of Directors. Members may apply for a position on the National or Local Chapter Board of Directors; the majority of Directors on the Board must be accredited.

2.0 Terminologies

The following terminologies are applicable where used in the Code of Ethics:

2.1 Member: A current qualified member of the DDA who is registered and in good standing. The levels of membership are Accredited Member, Student
Member,Affiliate Member, Educator Member or Retired Member. Only Accredited Members have voting status. (See for membership criteria and benefits).

2.2 Qualified Member: The majority of DDA members are Interior Decorators who have graduated from a College program recognized by the DDA with a Certificate or Diploma in Interior Decorating (see Recognized Institutions). Other Members of DDA are graduates of an Interior Design Advanced Diploma Program or a Bachelor of Interior Design Program. Other Members qualify after a minimum of 10 years work experience and gain their accredited Membership through the submission of a portfolio along with letters of reference. This is reviewed and approved by the Membership Committee.

2.3 Interior Decorator: A person trained in the planning of interior spaces and the specification and application of decorative finishes, materials, furnishings, lighting and accessories. This includes but is not limited to someone with expertise in the design of window treatments and custom upholstery textiles, paint, flooring and floor coverings, kitchen and bathroom planning and design, lighting, wall coverings, and furnishings primarily for interior spaces in residential buildings. Interior Decorators are also well versed in the fundamentals of design and colour, space planning, material estimating and costing as well as project management. They are employed by manufacturers, trade showrooms/distributors, specialized retail outlets, interior decorating and design firms, builders, developers, event planning companies or are self-employed. Current students or graduates of a DDA recognized post-secondary program can qualify to become a member of the DDA (see our membership page for more information regarding the different levels of membership).

2.4 Designer: A person who imagines how something could be made or how it should look before it exists and prepares plans and/or drawings for it. Designers have expertise in drafting, CAD applications, building codes and construction. DDA does not regulate the profession of Interior Design nor do they provide the ability for its members to represent themselves as Interior Designers. The profession of Interior Design and use of the term ‘Interior Designer’ is strictly regulated at the provincial level in Canada. In Ontario only Interior Designers who are members of ARIDO (the Association of Registered Interior Designers of Ontario) are eligible to refer to themselves as an ‘Interior Designer’. More information can be found here.

2.5 Firm: A proprietorship, partnership or corporation engaged in the practice of Interior Decorating or Design.

2.6 Colleague: Any other individual or firm engaged in the practice of Interior Decorating, Interior Design, or a related design profession.

2.7 Client: An individual or entity that retains a member or a firm for the performance of Interior Decorating or Design services.

2.8 Public: Concerning people as a whole, as in “general public”; the community in general, or members of the community.

2.9 Board of Directors: The Board is responsible for the overall policy, direction, property and business of the Association (DDA). The Board must be comprised of at least 7 Directors and must meet at least quarterly to discuss the affairs of the Association.

2.10 Director: A Director must be 18 years old and have power under law to contract. Directors are elected for a 2-year term by the Members at an Annual General Meeting, and can be eligible for reelection for two more consecutive 2-year terms. A Director serves without remuneration or without profit due to their position.

3.0 Responsibility to the Public

3.1 Members shall comply with all existing laws, regulations, and codes governing business procedures and the practice of their trade, as established by the jurisdictions in which they practice.

3.2 If a Member becomes aware of a situation that impacts the health, safety, and welfare of the public, then the Member has an obligation to notify the appropriate parties.

3.3 Members shall neither offer nor make any payments or gifts to any public official, or take any other action with the intent of influencing the official’s judgment in connection with an existing or prospective project in which the Member is interested.

3.4 Members shall disclose all relevant information which may be deemed as a conflict of interest.

3.5 Members shall not make misleading, deceptive or false statements or claims with regard to the professional qualification, DDA membership category or work experience of themselves or other members of their firm. This includes, but is not limited to, advertising and promotional activities as well as any other verbal or written claims.

3.6 Members shall not seal or sign drawings, specifications, or other decorating or design documents unless they have personally prepared, supervised or professionally reviewed and approved such documents and have the legal qualification allowing them to seal or sign such documents.

3.7 Members shall not permit their names to be used in conjunction with any decorating or design project in which they have not been directly or indirectly involved.

3.8 Members shall not engage in any professional conduct involving deceit, fraud, misrepresentation, or dishonesty.

3.9 Members must recognize that they give up rights to the usage of the DDA logo and/or claims of association with DDA upon cessation of membership by any means.

4.0 Responsibility to the Client

4.1 Members shall undertake only those professional responsibilities that they are qualified and competent to carry out; through training, education and/or experience.

4.2 Before accepting an assignment, Members shall define comprehensively to the client the scope and nature of the project, the decorating/design services to be performed or products to be delivered, the method of remuneration for those services or products, as well as a discussion/communication on all necessary aspects concerning a budget.

4.3 Members shall treat all client information (both professional and personal) including all visual and written documentation as confidential; and shall not divulge such information without the written consent of the client. It is the Members responsibility to ensure that all employees are also bound to total confidentiality.

4.4 In the case of a dispute not directly involving a Member during a project, the Member shall maintain an independent position in total fairness to the parties in the dispute.

4.5 Members must obtain written consent from their client(s) to use their client’s project for promotional purposes.

5.0 Responsibility to other DDA Members & Decorators / Designers

5.1 Members shall not initiate or participate in any discussion or activity which might result in harm to another Member’s or colleague’s reputation or business relationships.

5.2 Members may enter into work on a project upon being personally satisfied that the client has severed contractual relationships with a previous decorator, designer or supplier.

5.3 Members shall not engage in unfair competition practices that would harm the reputation of another decorator, designer, supplier or the profession as a whole.

5.4 Members may, when requested and when it does not represent a conflict of interest, render a second opinion to a client, or serve as an expert witness in a judicial or arbitration proceeding.

5.5 Members shall only take credit for work or use work that has actually been created by that Member or the Member’s firm and under the Member’s direction.

6.0 Responsibility to the Profession

6.1 Members agree to maintain standards of professional conduct that will positively reflect on DDA and the profession.

6.2 Members shall seek to continually upgrade their industry knowledge and competencies as per DDA’s Continuing Professional Development (link here).

6.3 Members agree, whenever possible, to encourage and contribute to the sharing of knowledge and information between decorators, designers, suppliers, students, and other allied professional disciplines.

6.4 Advertising by Members must meet the following criteria:

(a) the advertising preserves the public interest by reporting accurate and factual information which neither exaggerates nor misleads.

(b) all advertising undertaken must encourage and reflect the DDA brand.

6.5 Members (with the exception of Retired Members) may identify their membership and/or use of the DDA logo for marketing and promotional purposes. This includes, but is not limited to advertising, stationery, signage, and media.

6.6 Members shall not claim to be an official spokesperson(s) for DDA without the written authorization of the Board of Directors.

6.7 Members shall not interfere with the performance of another decorator’s, designer’s, supplier’s, colleague’s contractual or professional relationship with a client. (Unless agreed to in writing by all parties).

Code of Ethics February 13, 2019 (Click to download)