Submitted by Jorie Janzen, RD, IOC Dipl Sports Nutr, CSSD
In Canada dietitians working in sport may be employed by the Canadian Sport Institute Network, sport medicine clinics, professional sport (NHL, CFL), amateur sport organizations, and many work in private practice specializing in sport dietetics.
Required professional affiliations would be the provincial college/regulatory body for each province. Other affiliations are many which may include Dietitians of Canada’s Sport Nutrition Network (DCSNN), provincial sport medicine and science councils, provincial sport nutrition networks (e.g. Manitoba Sport Nutrition Network Inc.), PINES, CPSDA, SDA and many others.
For those few dietitians working within the CSI-Network, there are annual events in which network meetings are hosted. SPIN Summit (Sport INovation summit) and NSSMAC (National Sport Science and Medicine Advisory Council) is Canada’s symposium for professional development and networking in areas of applied sport science, sports medicine, and innovation. Because there are so few full time and or permanent positions in Canada, many of the dietitians working in sport at some capacity have formed smaller networking groups within their province to facilitate sharing of knowledge and experiences.
Currently in Canada there is no formal certification to be able to wear the title of sports nutritionist/sports dietitian. However, there are standards that have been assumed in the hiring of dietitians within the Canadian Sport Institute Network (CSI-Network) along with the DCSNN.
Once becoming a registered dietitian with the goal of working within the CSI-Network, dietitians are preferred to have a minimum of 2 years experience as a registered dietitian; with most facilities aiming to hire those who have also continued their education either by obtaining a Master’s degree/PhD in a related field and or obtaining the IOC Diploma in Sports Nutrition.
The CSI-Network encompasses 4 institutes and 3 centres (designation is based on number of specific criteria) and has recently collaborated with B2Ten and its Applied Performance Sport Nutrition Mentorship program. This 2-year mentorship program will allow dietitians and nutritionists to be mentored by world-class sports nutritionists. In addition to the mentorship program, the DCSNN has worked closely with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to include what will likely lead to best practice in sports nutrition designation by incorporating the Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD) credential. The DCSNN has for several years now worked with SDA in adapting and delivering an intensive 4-day course that is held in Canada every 2 years. ISAK courses have often been attached to the 4-day intensive course, but do occur independent of the course several times throughout a year.
Altogether, the developing networking groups, mentorships, credentials and certifications will allow Canada’s dietitians working in sport to contribute to and further develop leading-edge sport nutrition services that will enhance the profession and therefore the quality of services and skills required to work in high performance sport.