NSDA Newsletter - December 2020

Article Index

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Board Update

As we wrap up 2020 and reflect on what a year it has been, I’m sure we can all agree that it has certainly been quite a year. Beginning with last spring’s AGM, the Board has moved entirely virtual – board meetings, training, orientation and strategic planning have all taken place over Zoom. And with this shift to the virtual world, we continue to regulate dietitians and nutritionists to practice in a safe, ethical and competent manner, with public interest being the focus of what we do.

In addition to facing a global pandemic, 2020 also highlighted the continued systemic racism that exists in our society. There is a call to action for all of us to think about what we need to continue to learn and understand that affects our practice, and as a regulatory, what is this call asking us to do.  This past September saw the board spend time revisiting and reaffirming NSDA’s mission, vision and values, as well as take stock of where we are in relation to our 2017 Strategic Plan. As part of this exercise, time was spent considering the current context, and this led the board to update our existing strategic directions.

Strategic Direction 1: Equity Diversity and Inclusion

  • Integrate the principles of equity, diversity and inclusion into NSDA's board governance and operations.
  • Collaborate with others to identify strategic interventions to enhance the cultural safety and competency of our operational processes.
  • Promote cultural competency as a standard of practice for dietitians and nutritionists in Nova Scotia.

Strategic Direction 2: Regulation of Practice

  • Establish a strategy for the board to influence the timely proclamation of the Act and the transition to a college.
  • Develop preceptor competencies.
  • Enhance the Continuing Competency Program.

Strategic Direction 3: Governance Excellence

  • Develop a recruitment framework and implement an effective recruitment strategy for the NSDA board.

Strategic Direction 1: Equity, Diversity and Inclusion - While the Board begins to understand how to truly consider what will be required to take action on equity, diversity and inclusion as a regulatory body, we also see our role in promoting cultural competency as a standard of practice for dietitians and nutritionists. NSDA’s Standards of Practice, standards #4 (Client-centered services) and #6 (communications) both outline expectations. I encourage all dietitians and nutritionists to reflect on these standards and the principles of diversity, equity and inclusion, and what this means to you in your practice.  Consider what areas you might need to build your understanding and competence in. As well, this topic will be the focus of the AGM education session this coming spring. I invite you to hold the date for a virtual AGM.  The AGM is scheduled for May 19 from 6-8 p.m. via Zoom.

Strategic Direction 2: Regulation of Practice - As you all well know, as a profession, we have been waiting for the proclamation of the Dietitians Act (2009) for quite some time. Since July, two letters have been sent to the Minister of Health.  In the first letter, we expressed the need for the act to be proclaimed. We highlighted the significant impacts that this delayed proclamation is having on public protection, the health system, NSDA as a regulatory body, and certainly to dietitians and nutritionists. We followed up with a second letter restating the journey and history over the past number of years, and again calling for the proclamation of the Dietitians Act to be a priority for Government. We continue to work with and liaise with Government and are planning to share an update with NSDA registrants early in the new year.

Strategic Direction 3: Governance Excellence - As per our usual governance processes, orientation was held with new board members this fall. The Board continues to focus on governance excellence, and as outlined above, the development and implementation of a recruitment strategy as the focus of the Nominations Committee. The Nova Scotia Regulated Health Professions Network hosted a virtual governance workshop, of which two board members were able to attend.

I would like to take a minute to thank the Board of Directors and staff for their continued involvement and commitment to the work of NSDA. I wish everyone a peaceful end to the year that was 2020, and all the best over the holiday season.

Sarah MacDonald, PDt

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2020-2021 Board of Directors

 President  Sarah MacDonald
 Vice President  Judy Lowe
 Treasurer Amy MacDonald
 Secretary  Jennifer Josey
 Members at Large  Valerie Joy
   Sarah Campbell Bligh
   Erica Reynolds (Risk Lead)
  Kolten MacDonnell
  Tierney Saunders
President-elect vacant

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2020-21 Board of Directors and Staff.  From left to right/top row:  Amanda Connors (Practice Advisor/Registration Coordinator), Jennifer Hemeon (Executive Manager), Valerie Joy, Amy MacDonald. Middle row:  Jennifer Josey, Tierney Saunders, Sarah MacDonald, Judy Lowe.  Bottom row:  Erica Reynolds, Kolten MacDonnell, Sarah Campbell Bligh.

Notice of Annual General Meeting

The 2021 Annual General Meeting will be held via Zoom on May 19 from 6:00-8:00 p.m.

Inline with NSDA's strategic direction related to promoting cultural competency as a standard of practice, an education presentation will address the principles of equity, diversity and inclusion – and relevance to dietetic practice.

Speaker: Jennifer Brady, PhD, PDt
Assistant Professor
Mount Saint Vincent University

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Executive Manager's Update

As COVID has no doubt impacted your practice, it has also impacted NSDA.  Staff are working from home and meetings are held virtually.  Amanda Connors, NSDA's practice advisor/registration coordinator, continues to be available to meet with you to answer your registration and practice questions, and to support you as you complete the Continuing Competency Program's (CCP) learning log.  A succession plan is in place should staff become ill and be unable to perform critical tasks (e.g. processing applications, coordination of renewal, finances).  Thank you to Deborah Everett, who has had training to take on staff's role should staff become ill.

In January, NSDA will launch a new new registration platform.  The e-learning module will be accessed from your online account and it is a more user-friendly platform.  You will be able to access your current and past years' learning logs on this new platform.  The new platform creates many efficiencies for staff.  It houses a mail-out system, a tool for an electronic election, an event planner, and a confidential information management system for complaints.  It has increased capacity for document storage, and NSDA will gradually have all hard copies of registration documents stored electronically.  The platform automatically generates a current listing of registrants that is posted on the website for the public to access. 

In the spring, the Fair Registration Practices Office conducted its Progress Review.  This is undertaken in collaboration with the province’s Fair Registration Practices Act Review Officer. Every two years, we review our registration practices, report on our action plan to improve registration practices, and file a report on the results.  NSDA's registration processes are compliant with the requirements set out in the Fair Registration Practices Act.  Click HERE to view the report.

Wishing you a safe and joyous holiday season,

Jennifer Hemeon. PDt, MScAHN
Executive Manager

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Practice Advisor's Update

The following are common questions asked of me.  When responding to questions, I refer to NSDA's policies and standards and the resources that accompany the Continuing Competency Program's Toolkit.  I also liase with other health profession's practice advisors in Nova Scotia, and I am a member of a national network of practice advisors from other Canadian dietetic colleges.  

Q. I am preparing to go on parental leave, what changes should I make to my registration status with the NSDA?

A. Under the current act, The Professional Dietitians Act, there are two classes of registration, temporary and full. Despite work status, a dietitian must complete all registration requirements for full membership, including payment of the full registration fee and completion of the Continuing Competency Program (CCP).  The CCP submission should be relevant to your area of practice, demonstrating that you are staying up to date in relevant knowledge and skills.  There will be a non-practicing cateory of registration under the new Act, The Dietitians Act.

Q. Due to the pandemic, there has been an organizational decision to host group nutrition sessions online. What should I consider when offering virtual group sessions?

A. When preparing for virtual practice, consider the following:

• Policies -- Prior to engaging in virtual practice, review the Virtual Practice Policy, the Position Statemon on Use of Social Media in Dietetic Practice, the relevant Standards of Practice
• Virtual platform selection– Ensure you provide services using a secure platform. It is important to gain an understanding of security standards related to a virtual platform prior to using the product.
• Registration – It is important to know where clients are located during virtual sessions. If they are physically located outside of Nova Scotia, it is your responsibility to contact the relevant provincial dietetic regulatory body to gain an understanding of their virtual practice registration requirements. Some provinces will require registration in their province prior to offering virtual care.
• Client safety – Having quick access to a client's specific location and contact information is important, particularly if participants are at an increased risk for a health event. Should a health event occur, this information will allow emergency services to identify a participant’s location.
• Consent – Consent must be received for the collection of personal health information and provision of dietetic care. It is also important that dietitians obtain consent from clients for participation in virtual sessions and related security risks.

If you have questions related to the topics above or any other practice questions, please forward them to me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Amanda Connors, PDt
Practice Advisor/Registration Coordinator

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Important Information

Moving out of province?  When dietitians apply to other colleges, NSDA completes a Labour Mobility Verification Form to inform the other college that the dietitian is registered in good standing.  There is a $25 administration fee for NSDA to send the new college verification of credentials, exam results, and the Labour Mobility Form.  The fee is payable by cheque or e-transfer.   If your last CCP submission was unsatisfactory, this will be communicated to the other college. 

As I am not currently practicing as a dietitian, should I maintain my license with NSDA?

At this time, you are advised to maintain your license with NSDA if there is a possibility that you will return to dietetic practice at some point. When NSDA becomes a college, there will be a non-practicing roster.  Before resigning, contact NSDA to understand implications specific to your situation.

I am moving out of Canada to practice as a dietitian, but I may return to Nova Scotia to practice at a later date.  Should I maintain my license in Nova Scotia?

You are advised to maintain your license with NSDA if you have never written and passed the Canadian Dietetic Registration Exam (CDRE).  Based on Policy 4.10, you would be required to pass the CDRE for reinstatement unless you are registered in good standing with another Canadian dietetic regulatory body at the time of application.

If you passed the CDRE more than three years before the date of application, you will need to satisfy the Registration Committee that you have been registered as a dietitian in good standing in the other jurisdiction, have practiced a minimum of 600 hours in three years before the date of your application and have met a regulatory body’s continuing competency requirements.  Otherwise, the Registration Committee may deem upgrading required for reinstatement.

How do I change my email address in the NSDA renewal system?

You can access the online database throughout the year.  Please keep your email address, mailing address and employment information up-to-date by logging onto the membership database and updating your profile details.  

If you have a change in email address or wish to change your password, log on and click on your name at the top right corner of the screen.  Then click Account.

 Where do I find my renewal receipt and license verification?

To access your renewal receipt, log onto the membership database and click on My Applications (found on the left side of the screen under Applications). Hard copies of license cards are no longer mailed out.  To access your license verification online, log-on and click on Download My License (found on the left side of the screen under My License).  


 NSDA is on Facebook

There is an NSDA Facebook group to enhance communication with Nova Scotia dietitians about regulatory related issues. Employment and continuing education opportunities are also posted.  

With any social media site, there are risks because information is not private. Inappropriate or misinterpreted posts can harm the reputation and integrity of individual professionals or the profession. Posts will be monitored. If you have concerns, please contact NSDA directly. It is not intended to replace the networking forums that already exist through Dietitians of Canada or the Dietitians Network of Nova Scotia.  Join the NSDA Facebook group HERE.