Scopes of Practice > Dietitians

Scope of Practice from Individual Acts

The practice of dietetics is the assessment of nutrition and nutritional conditions and the treatment and prevention of nutrition related disorders by nutritional means.

Alternate / Additional Description of Scope

The primary purpose of the scope of practice statement is to educate dietitians and the public about the focus of the dietetic profession. The College uses the scope of practice statement to define parameters for developing standards of practice. However, to monitor competence in dietetic practise and to help with the administration of regulations, by-laws, programs and policies, the College elaborated on the scope of practice statement with a definition of practising dietetics as follows:

“Practising Dietetics is paid or unpaid activities for which members use food & nutrition-specific knowledge, skills and judgment while engaging in:

  • the assessment of nutrition related to health status and conditions for individuals and populations;
  • the management and delivery of nutrition therapy to treat disease;
  • the management of food services systems; building thee capacity of individuals and populations to promote, maintain or restore health and prevent disease through nutrition and related means;
  • and management, education or leadership that contributes to the enhancement and quality of dietetic and health services.” .

The College does not consider the following activities as practising dietetics:

  • Holding a position solely in non-dietetic management (e.g., Vice President or Administrator of a hospital or other organization).
  • Holding a position solely in the area of human resources (HR), information technology (IT), or risk management.
  • Engaging in sales or marketing of pharmaceuticals that are not related to nutrition.
  • Assessing facility processes to meet accreditation standards.

Circumstances determine whether a dietitian is practising dietetics or not. For instance, a dietitian who works at a gym might provide some personal training services with no nutrition component and, in that context, would not be seen as practising dietetics. However, if the dietitian were to offer diabetes management to a client that included exercise at a gym, he or she would be practising dietetics. Generally, the College's interest lies in regulating actions performed within the scope of practice. There are times, however, where the College can regulate aspects of a dietitian's private life that are outside the dietetic scope of practice but within its public protection mandate. This would apply where a dietitian's actions have an impact on professional ethics or public safety, such as cheating on income tax, abusing one's own child or driving while impaired. A dietitian who drinks and drives places others at risk. Would that dietitian also risk coming to work and treating patients while under the influence of alcohol? Even though the dietitian may not yet have come to work impaired, the College would have a legitimate public protection interest in regulating the behaviour.


For greater clarity, illustration and interpretation, dietetic practice includes (not necessarily limited to) the following activities:

  • Assessing nutrition status in clinical settings to provide meal plans, nutrition guidance or advice and/or formulating therapeutic diets to manage and/or treat diseases or nutrition-related disorders.
  • Assessing, promoting, protecting and enhancing health and the prevention of nutrition-related diseases in populations using population health and health promotion approaches, as well as strategies focusing on the interactions among the determinants of health, food security and overall health. (From Pan Canadian Task Force on Public Health Nutrition, Strengthening Public Health Nutrition Practice In Canada.)
  • Managing food and management services and developing food services processes in hospitals and other health care facilities, schools, universities, and businesses.
  • Conducting research, product development, product marketing, and consumer education to develop, promote and market food and nutritional products and pharmaceuticals related to nutrition disorders or nutritional health.
  • Assessing compliance of long-term care homes to meet the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care standards related to nutrition and hydration of residents.
  • Developing or advocating for food and nutrition policy.
  • Teaching nutrition, food chemistry or food service administration to students in dietetics, the food and hospitality industry and/or to other health care providers.
  • Planning and engaging in direct food & nutrition research.
  • Communicating food & nutrition information in any print, radio, television, video, and Internet or multi-media format.
  • Directly managing, supervising or assuring quality of front-line employees who are engaged in any of the previously-mentioned dietetic practice circumstances.

Summarized Controlled Acts

Performing a procedure on tissue below the dermis (partial)

Authorized Acts

3.1. In the course of engaging in the practice of dietetics, a member is authorized, subject to the terms, conditions and limitations imposed on his or her certificate of registration, to take blood samples by skin pricking for the purpose of monitoring capillary blood readings. 2009, c. 26, s. 7.