Dietitic Scope of Practice

Each profession under the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991has a scope of practice statement that describes in broad terms the focus of the profession. For Registered Dietitians, the statement is set out in the Dietetics Act, 1991, section 3, as follows:

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

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.

Controlled Acts

Controlled acts are health care actions that are considered potentially harmful if performed by unqualified persons. The Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991, sets out the controlled acts that should only be performed by someone with the legal authority to do so. Dietitians have been granted the legal authority under the Dietetics Act, 1991 to perform only one controlled act, skin pricking, which falls within the controlled act of performing a procedure below the dermis. This authority allows RDs to take blood samples by skin pricking for the purpose of monitoring capillary blood readings while practicing dietetics:

Authorized Act

"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. 2"

Delegation of Controlled Acts

The authority to perform most of the controlled acts can be delegated to another person including a regulated health professional as long as the delegation is made "in accordance with any applicable regulations under the health profession Act governing the member's profession" (Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991, 1991, S28. (1))

Dietitians can also be given the authority to order diagnostic procedures (e.g. laboratory tests) and treatments. This authority is transferred through a medical directive.

The College of Dietitians of Ontario supports the delegation of controlled acts to Registered Dietitians and the development of medical directives giving them additional authorities as long as the dietitians have the competencies to perform the controlled acts or other authorized tasks safely.

guide on the use of orders, directives and delegations from the Federation of Health Regulatory Colleges of Ontario is available online to address questions regarding the use of orders, medical directives and delegation.

Refer to our Scope of Practice Professional Practice Resources section for more information.