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Regulation Matters 2019 - Issue 1

Liability insurance — Do you need it?

Each year, when the College randomly selects members to show proof that they have liability insurance, we find a significant number of dietitians who are practicing without it. There seems to be confusion about who needs insurance and who does not. We hope that this article will bring some clarity to the College’s liability insurance requirements for members. 

You must have professional liability insurance if you practice dietetics

If you are a member of the College and are practicing dietetics in any capacity, anywhere, you must have liability insurance. This applies even if you are:
  • Practicing outside of Ontario or Canada;
  • Practicing but not working directly with clients or patients;
  • Completing dietetics-related graduate work; and
  • Doing dietetics-related volunteer work.

You do not need professional liability insurance if you are:

  • Unemployed;
  • On leave (e.g. maternity or sick leave); or
  • Working or volunteering in a position that is not considered practicing dietetics.
The College’s Definition of Practicing Dietetics is broad and includes a wide variety of practice areas and settings where members are using their food and nutrition knowledge, skills and judgement. This includes dietitians who work with individual clients, groups, public health, research, food industry, academia, communications, as well as managing dietitians in practice.
 
Compare your current responsibilities to the College’s Definition of Practicing Dietetics. If your role falls under this definition, you must hold liability insurance anytime and anywhere you practice, in the minimum amounts outlined in College By-Law No. 5.  

Employer Coverage vs. Individual Policy

Employer Coverage

Confirm with your employer that you are covered as an employee in the amounts outlined in College By-Law No. 5. If your employers’ coverage has a deductible greater than $1,000, this is acceptable by the College if your employer confirms (in writing) that they will pay the deductible, should a claim ever be made against you as an employee under the organization’s professional liability insurance policy.
 
If you have more than one employer and you rely on your employer’s coverage for liability insurance, check that you are covered by all employers as per the College’s By-Law No. 5 requirements. In a random selection for proof of professional liability insurance, the College would need proof of coverage from all your employers.

Individual Policy

You may have one individual policy that covers your dietetics work in multiple settings. To ensure your individual policy has adequate coverage for all locations, provide a copy of College By-Law No. 5 to your insurance company or broker. 

Professional Obligations

If the College requests you to show proof of liability insurance and you fail to provide adequate proof, or you fail to respond to the College’s request to show proof, according to the Registration Regulation you may be suspended.

As a regulated health professional, you are held to a higher standard, which includes complying with your professional obligations, such as having adequate liability insurance. Please pay attention to College communications as you may be asked to take action. 

For more information on how to obtain liability insurance and the amount required, click here.

If you have further questions about your requirements for professional liability insurance please contact:


Deborah Cohen, Manager, Registration Program
deborah.cohen@collegeofdietitians.org
416-598-1725/1-800-668-4990 ext. 224