Registered Dietitians are uniquely qualified health professionals who perform comprehensive nutrition assessments to identify and treat diet and nutrition problems at both an individual and public health level. Specialized training in food and nutrition as well as chemistry, biology and physiology provide the necessary skills to deliver expert nutrition and dietary advice.
The title "Registered Dietitian" is protected by the Health Professionals Act, and can only be used by those who meet the required educational standards. The letters RD, RDN, PDt, DtP and RDt are the legal designations for qualified registered dietitians in Canada. In Ontario, the legal designation for Registered Dietitian is RD. "Public Health Nutritionists" are an exception, as they require additional training. Both Registered Dietitians and Public Health Nutritionists are registered with the College of Dietitians of Ontario, the provincial regulatory body.
The term "nutritionist" is not protected by law in all provinces. For instance, in the province of British Columbia, the term is protected but in Ontario, it is not. In Ontario, the term "nutritionist" can be used by anyone. There are no minimum qualifications and no specialized training is required.
Registered Dietitians are considered to be your best source for nutrition information. To be certain if the "nutritionist" you are referred to is a Registered Dietitian, ask to see their qualifications.
Clinical Diet Technicians work in a hospital setting under the supervision of Registered Dietitians. They are closely involved in the monitoring of patients' food, fluid, and nutritional supplement intake, and may also assist with patient education. Diet technicians also act as a liaison between clinical nutrition and the food service supervisors of the Nutrition Services Department.