practising fewer than 500 hours in 3 years

Ensuring Continued Competence for Dietitians practising fewer than 500 Hours in 3 Years

An unrestricted certificate of registration with the College means that an RD has maintained competence to practise dietetics in Ontario. The Quality Assurance (QA) Program has the responsibility to assess RDs who have not practised at least 500 hours over the past three years to determine their competence.

If a registrant has not met 500 hours of practice over the past three years, they must declare their practice hours (updated policy, June 2022) on their annual registration renewal form.  Registrants who declare fewer than 500 hours of practice in the past three years are referred to the Quality Assurance Committee to determine their competence. They will receive an email (approximately in mid-November) requiring them to choose one of the three options described below. 

three options 


Option 1. Signing a Voluntary undertaking

If you are a dietitian not currently practising dietetics in Ontario or with Ontario clients but still wish to maintain your dietitian title, one option is signing a Voluntary Undertaking with the Quality Assurance (QA) Program, College of Dietitians of Ontario.
Signing a Voluntary Undertaking means you agree not to return to dietetic practice in Ontario or with Ontario clients until the QA Committee has assessed you to ensure you possess the necessary knowledge, skill and judgement to  practise competently and safely.
By signing a Voluntary Undertaking, you become exempt from participating in the QA Program requirements, which include the completion of the annual Self-Directed Learning (SDL) Tool, the completion of the Jurisprudence Knowledge and Assessment Tool (JKAT) every 5 years, and random selection for Peer and Practice Assessment (PPA). However, it is essential to note that must still fulfill your reqistration fee obligations and maintain the integrity and public trust associated with your title while not actively practicing.
When you are ready to return to dietetic practise in Ontario, you must notify the College well in advance. This notification will enable the QA Committee to assess if any area of practice requires upgrading. Upgrading activities may include completing a university level or equivalent course, participating in a practicum with an appointed RD supervisor or mentor, or engaging in other appropriate measures to enhance competence. 

To ensure that the QA Committee accurately understand how you maintained your competence while not practising in Ontario, the College recommends keeping a learning diary of continuing education and professional development activities undertaken during that time. Based on the learning diary, the QA Committee evaluates whether sufficient evidence exists to establish that competency was maintained or further assessment is required. This assessment could be an oral, written or practical assessment/exam, or a combination. Additionally, you must complete a Peer and Practice Assessment within one year of returning to work in Ontario. 

Maintaining your dietitian title while not actively practicing dietetics in Ontario is an option the College provides. By following the outlined process and fulfilling the requirements, you can ensure that you remain connected to the profession while not actively practising dietetics. 

For further information, guidance, or clarification on signing Voluntary Undertaking, please contact the Professional Practice Program

Option 2: Submitting a Learning Diary

For dietitians who are practising fewer than 500 hours or not practicing
You have the option to submit a learning diary of all professional development activities over the last three years. A learning diary may be started anytime. Use these templates:

Assessment of Learning Diary

Once the learning diary is submitted, it is independently reviewed by two assessors, and the QA Committee to determine if any remediation is required to maintain competency. See Policy 5-40: Committee Review of the Learning Diary for details on the process.  
Based on the learning diary, the QA Committee evaluates whether there is sufficient evidence to establish that competency was maintained or whether further assessment is required. This assessment could be in the form of an oral, written or practical exam, or a combination of these.

Deemed Adequate to Demonstrate Competence
If deemed adequate and competent to practise dietetics after this assessment, the dietitian continues to participate in the QA Program, including completing the annual Self-Directed Learning (SDL) Tool, completing the Jurisprudence Knowledge and Assessment Tool (JKAT) every 5 years, and, if returning to practise, being in the random selection pool for a Peer and Practice Assessment (PPA). Once a registrant successfully completes a Practice Assessment, they are removed from the pool for 5 years.

Deemed Inadequate to Demonstrate Competence
If deemed inadequate after learning diary assessment, the registrant will be required to undergo a competency assessment according to their practice area (Population Health; Patient Care; or Management) or the Committee will direct the registrant to undergo a specific remediation program.
Please click here for more information about the process: Policy 5-40: Committee Review of Learning Diary, Under 500 hours.

Option 3: Resigning Membership

The College appreciates that a dietitian may not wish to sign a voluntary undertaking or submit to an assessment. If this is the case, the last option would be to resign their membership. Resigning would mean that the dietitian could no longer use the title of Registered Dietitian and would no longer be able to practise as an RD. If they decided to return to dietetic practice, the admission qualifications and policies in place at the time of re-application would apply.