The titles Registered Dietitian, R.D., Dietitian, Registered Nutritionist and Nutritionist are protected by law through Alberta's provincial legislation. Only practitioners who have met education qualifications and are members of the College of Dietitians of Alberta can use those titles. In Alberta, a nutritionist is a health professional who has a bachelor’s degree specializing in food and nutrition, as well as a period of practical training in a hospital or community setting. Many nutritionists further their knowledge by pursuing a master’s or doctoral degree.
The term Nutritionist is only recently protected by law in Alberta. Previously, practitioners with any level of training and knowledge could call themselves “nutritionists” in Alberta. While the title Nutritionist is protected for dietitians in some provinces, it is not protected all across Canada. It's important to note that "Holistic Nutritionist" and Nutritionist do not refer to the same standard in Alberta.
Terms such as Registered Holistic Nutritionist, Certified Nutritional Practioner, and many others do NOT indicate the person is a provincially regulated health professional. As the Dietitians of Canada (2016) website states, “they are used by those who have completed training programs that vary in length and rigor and are privately owned. Such training programs are not delivered or accredited by a recognized institution.”
You should contact your provincial regulatory body to ensure that the services you receive are from a qualified dietitian.
For more information, read the full Dietitians of Canada article on Dietitians and Nutritionists.