The NSTEP Blog

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Happy Nutrition Month and Dietitians Day

Written by: Terese and Melissa


Greetings NSTEPpers!

You might have seen that March is Nutrition Month! This year’s theme is ‘Unlock the Potential of Food.’ And who can do that for you? Dietitians! Every third Wednesday of March is Dietitians Day. A day dedicated to all of the amazing Dietitians in Canada.

Registered Dietitians are a small but mighty profession!


Quick Facts about History

    • 1902: the first year that dietetics was a program in Canada (1, 2)
    • 1908: the first dietitian hired at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto (1, 2)

To see more, check out these articles:,


Spelling of Dietitian

  • Is it “dietitian” or “dietician”?! It’s always a confusing thing to know how to spell this word, and it has remained confusing in the past century. Across the world, “Dietitian” is spelled with a “t”! There is no “c” in the word. In fact, there hasn’t been for over 100 years (3, 4).


A Dietitian’s Education

  • To become a Registered Dietitian in Canada, someone needs to have completed three steps (5). First, obtain a degree in human nutrition and dietetics from an accredited university program. This degree covers biochemistry, microbiology, physiology, social sciences, chronic disease management, nutrition throughout the lifespan, and community health. Next, each student needs to complete supervised practical training. These placements occur in three areas: clinical practice, community practice, and food service management. Supervised training ensures each student is exposed to different areas of the field and is competent in practical skills. Finally, students write the Canadian Dietetic Registration Examination (CDRE). The CDRE is a national registration exam that all dietetic students in Canada must complete. After passing this exam, the student may now use the title of Registered Dietitian.
  • Dietitians can go on to do further education, such as a master’s or doctoral degree. This gives the opportunity to explore a specific field further or develop a particular skill.


The Difference Between a Registered Dietitian and a Nutritionist Across Canada

  • Registered Dietitians are a regulated healthcare profession. Each province has a regulatory body that each individual Dietitian needs to register with. In addition, each regulatory body establishes and maintains a strict set of rules that all Dietitians must adhere to. Why is this important? The role of the regulatory body is to protect the public. For example, if someone is practicing dietetics who shouldn’t be, or if a Dietitian practices in an unethical or unsafe manner, anyone has the right to submit complaints to their province’s College of Dietitians to ensure corrective action is taken.
  • Across Canada, the titles Registered Dietitian and Dietitian may only be used by those who have earned the credentials (6). In Alberta, Quebec, and Nova Scotia, the titles Registered Nutritionist and Nutritionist are also protected. In these three provinces, this means that only Dietitians can call themselves Nutritionists.
  • Insert table from the link below:


Protected Titles and Initials through Provincial Regulation

British Columbia

Registered Dietitian, Dietitian, RD


Registered Dietitian, Dietitian, Registered Nutritionist, Nutritionist, RD, Dietetic Intern and Provisional Dietitian 


Registered Dietitian, Dietitian, Professional Dietitian, RD, P.Dt


Registered Dietitian, Dietitian, RD


Registered Dietitian, Dietitian, RD
(en français) diététiste professionel(le), Dt.P


Dietitian, Nutritionist, Dietician, RD, P.Dt
(en français) diététiste, nutritionniste, diététicien,  Dt.P 

New Brunswick

Dietitian, Dietician, Professional Dietitian, Registered Dietitian – Nutritionist, Registered Dietitian, P.Dt., R.D.,  RDN
(en français) diététiste, diététicienne, diététiste ou
diététicienne professionnelle, diététiste-nutritionniste, diététicienne-nutritionniste immatriculée, diététiste ou diététicienne immatriculée, Dt.P., Dt.I, Dt.N.I

Nova Scotia

Dietitian, Nutritionist, P.Dt

Prince Edward Island

Registered Dietitian, RD

Newfoundland and Labrador

Registered Dietitian, Dietitian, RD

Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut

Dietitians who live/work in the Territories are required to join a provincial regulatory body.

Adapted from (6).


What a Dietitian Does and How to Find One

  • Check out the Dietitians of Canada website: 
  • Many people know that Dietitians work in hospitals, but did you know that they work in many other areas? Here are some examples (7):
    • Medical Clinics: Dietitians work in collaboration with other healthcare professionals like family physicians, kinesiologists, mental health therapists, and many others. All professionals work together to support the clients they work with, and Dietitians play a crucial role in nutrition counselling.
    • Community organizations: Community work is similar to what NSTEP does in health promotion and prevention! Creating presentations or workshops to deliver to people of all ages and developing resources such as recipes. The list goes on!
    • Government: Dietitians work with and for different governments, including policy work and working with people in the legislature.
    • Education: Elementary, junior high, and high schools are also places where Dietitians teach students and foster a healthy relationship with food as students grow and develop. Some even teach at post-secondary institutions such as SAIT, NorQuest, the University of British Columbia, and more.
    • Research: Dietitians work in the research field studying nutrients, food, chronic disease risks, food relationships, and more!
    • Media: Social media, television, and writing blogs and recipes for websites are becoming more common areas for Dietitians to be interested in. Because they are a trusted source of evidence-based information, they bring a powerful and compassionate voice to the mainstream during a time when confusion about nutrition is incredibly common.
    • Check out this blog from Unlock Food in our bio to learn more about what Dietitians do.



  1. Clandinin, M. (2006, February 7). Dietetics. The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved March 14, 2023, from 
  2. Dietetic practice: The past, present and future – world health organization. World Health Organization. (2004). Retrieved March 15, 2023, from 
  3. Marcason, W. (2015). Dietitian, dietician, or nutritionist? Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 115(3), 484. 
  4. Cassell, J. A. (1990). Carry the flame: The history of the American Dietetic Association. The Association.
  5. What kind of training and education does a dietitian have in Canada? (2020, November 30). Unlock Food. Retrieved March 14, 2023, from
  6. The difference between a dietitian and a nutritionist. (n.d.). Dietitians of Canada. Retrieved March 14, 2023, from
  7. Where do dietitians work and what do they do? (2020, November 30). Unlock Food. Retrieved March 14, 2023, from

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