Jurisprudence Handbook

Article Index

Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics

NSCDN sets standards of practice to support dietitians in their practice and regulate dietetic practice. Entry to practice standards ensure that those entering the profession practice in a competent and ethical manner. NSCDN has adopted theIntegrated Competencies for Dietetic Education and Practice (ICDEP) as entry to practice standards, and has established the Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics as practice standards relevant to dietitians in active practice.  Standards of practice describe competent, collaborative, ethical, and safe practice in a broad manner to be applicable to dietitians in multiple practice areas and settings. However, standards are sufficiently specific for use in a complaints process where standards are used to measure performance.

A dietitian accepts the obligation to protect clients, the public, and the profession by upholding the Code of Ethics. The Code of Ethics is a statement of the ethical commitments of dietitians to those they serve. It outlines the numerous roles dietitians play and the ethical standards by which dietitians are to conduct their practice. It gives guidance for decision-making, serves as a means of self-evaluation, and provides a basis for feedback and peer review. The code outlines dietitians’ ethical responsibilities and informs other healthcare professionals and the public about dietitians’ ethical commitments.

The Code of Ethics addresses:

  • client-centred practice
  • confidentiality and privacy
  • duty to report
  • consent
  • professional boundaries
  • appropriate and secure documentation
  • conflict of interest.


Competence: the ability to integrate and apply the knowledge, skills and judgement required to practice dietetics safely and ethically in a designated role and practice setting and includes both entry-level and continuing competencies (Dietitians Act, 2009).

Consent: agreement to allow something to happen.

Informed consent: the person fully understands what they agree to.

Express consent: consent that is given very clearly and definitively.

Implied consent: not expressed definitively but communicated by word or action.

Conflict of interest: occurs when, in the mind of a reasonable person, an individual has a personal interest that could improperly influence their professional judgement (Steinecke and CDO, 2015).


College of Dietitians of Ontario Jurisprudence & Professional Practice Resources

Resources related to this section:

Integrated Competencies for Dietetic Education and Practice

Code of Ethics

Standards of Practice