What is the difference between a Registered Dietitian and a Nutritionist?
Dietitian is a protected title across Canada, just like physician, nurse, physiotherapist, and pharmacist. Nutritionist is not a protected title in B.C. so technically, anyone can call himself or herself a nutritionist, even with no formal training or certification. Dietitians work with evidence-based practice and translate scientific research about food and nutrition into practical solutions for individuals, families, and communities. A dietitian will not promote or sell you unnecessary food or supplements. The advice and information you receive from a dietitian is tailored to you and your needs. Personally, I love the term nutritionist, so I call myself both a Nutritionist and a Dietitian.
Dietitians all have a university degree in food and nutrition from an accredited university program with a one-year supervised internship that includes hands-on-training. Just like all regulated health professionals, dietitians are required to practice ethically and to complete annual professional development to make sure their skills are up to date.
Dietitians, just like nurses and medical doctors, are accountable to provincial regulatory bodies for their professional conduct and the services they provide. These provincial regulatory bodies are in place to protect the public. They also serve as a point of contact for consumer complaints and malpractice.
Are Dietitian Services Covered Under Extended Medical Benefits?
More and more plans are covering nutrition counselling and services provided by a Registered Dietitian, often up to $500 per calendar year. Some Canadian companies that included dietitian services in their employee health care plans include:
Loblaw Companies Limited; Banks – TD, CIBC, RBC; Nurses -varies from province to province, Canada Post ; Department of National Defense; Universities – Ottawa, UBC, Saskatoon, Manitoba, Winnipeg; Some school districts and Teacher’s Associations – varies from province to province; RCMP; Telus; Global News; Shaw; BC Hydro, Manitoba Hydro; Province of Manitoba, Nova Scotia; City of Winnipeg, City of Calgary; Workman’s Compensation Board; Abbott Nutrition. This is not an exhaustive list and the content has not been confirmed by the named companies.
I am not located in Victoria B.C., can I still access your services?
Absolutely! Many clients wish to receive nutrition counselling from the comfort of their own home. Luckily programs such as Skype or Facetime allow nutrition counselling services to be provided over the internet. All services can be provided remotely, for more information see here.