Do you know the difference between a Nutritionist and a Registered Dietitian in Ontario?

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In Ontario, “Nutritionist” is not a protected title; anyone can legally provide nutrition information and call themselves a nutritionist. The title “Dietitian” is the only nutrition-related title that is protected by law in Ontario. To be qualified to be a member of the College of Dietitians of Ontario and to use the dietitian title, a person must have the foundational knowledge and practice skills normally acquired through a four year university degree in science and nutrition and almost a full year of internship. They must also pass the Canadian Dietetic Registration Examination. They have “Registered Dietitian” or the “RD” after their name. Public Health Nutritionists are also Registered Dietitians but they have completed a graduate degree relevant to public health.

Accountable to the College of Dietitians of Ontario

What sets Registered Dietitians apart is that they are the only regulated nutrition profession in the province. This means that they are accountable to their regulatory body, the College of Dietitians of Ontario, for safe competent and ethical nutrition services. If you have an issue or a complaint about the services of a dietitian, you can contact the College for help.

To practice in Ontario, Registered Dietitians achieve high standards for academic and practical education, ethics, professional conduct, and continuing competence. All dietitians must participate in the College’s Quality Assurance Program for professional development and demonstration of their continued competence to practice. Dietitians in Ontario bring a high degree of knowledge, skills, judgment to their nutrition practice. They also keep up with the science of nutrition.

RDs help you make better choices about healthy eating

Dietitians are skilled in translating medical and nutrition information into practical and healthy eating plans for better health. They provide individualized nutrition advice to help people make choices about foods and supplements for better health. Dietitians can help you with many nutrition concerns including food sensitivities and allergies, disease-specific nutrition care plans and creating healthy meal plans.

Registered Dietitians arealso trained to consider how culture, traditions, values, beliefs, family and personal lifestyles all affect your food choices. When you receive services from an RD, you can expect respectful care. Also, expect them to be highly involved in helping you set and achieve your nutrition goals.

How can you tell that that your nutrition consultant is a Registered Dietitian?

The Register of Dietitians, available online, will tell you whether a person is permitted to practice as a Registered Dietitian in Ontario. The Register has current business contact information, restrictions on a dietitian’s practice if there are any, and gives important information about any registration and discipline history. To check if a nutrition consultant is a dietitian, go to and click on Registery of Dietitians.

How can you access the services of a dietitian?

Free and reliable nutrition information is available through Eat Right Ontario, “Ask a Dietitian”. This service provides a direct link to Registered Dietitians to answer your questions. Call 1-877-510-5102 or visit

You can also access the services of a dietitian by consulting your physician or other primary care provider, by searching online for a “Registered Dietitian” in your area or by going to and clicking on Find a Dietitian.

Although dietitian services are not covered by OHIP, there are many government funded services through Family Health Teams, Community Health Centres, Diabetes Education Programs, Hospitals and Long-Term Care Residences. Many insurance companies also offer benefits for nutrition services by Registered Dietitians.

The College of Dietitians of Ontario works to protect the people of Ontario.

To find more information about how we work for you, watch our videos