The Ontario Seniors Nutrition & Advocacy Committee (OSNAC), focuses on advocacy initiatives for seniors’ nutrition and food service. We were previously known as the Dietitians of Canada Ontario Long Term Care Action Group (OLTCAG) and consisted of a voluntary group of Registered Dietitians. The OLTCAG was responsible for some key milestones for Dietitians in LTC including mandated hours for Dietitians, the Best Practice Document as well as supporting the Food Service Worker program in Ontario colleges.
In 2020, we became an independent group and decided to merge with Nutrition Managers. Nutrition and Food Service in LTC is a collaborative effort between Registered Dietitians and Nutrition Managers, so we felt it was vital to have representation on our committee from both professions.
We are a group of 15 members with over 25 years of experience within the LTC sector. We represent all levels of care including Corporate to front line support staff from both the private and not-for-profit sectors. Our support and advocacy efforts include Dietitians and Nutrition Managers, but also extend to Cooks and Food Service Workers as well. OSNAC collaborates with their advocacy working group, the Food & Nutrition Advisory Team (FNAT). This smaller team of OSNAC members work directly with government, the Ministry of LTC and sector partners, advocating for regulatory and legislation changes and support for nutrition & food service in LTC.
Our purpose is to educate and advocate for quality nutrition care for seniors living in LTC.
To advocate: we continually push forward to be at the decision-making tables within government, Ministry of LTC and amongst our partners within the sector to share our expertise and experience, to be the voice of nutrition managers and dietitians when decisions are made that will impact the dietary department including staffing, clinical nutrition, menu planning, production, meal and snack service.
To educate: we continue to build strong partnerships within the sector to support the government, Ministry of LTC, sector leaders, LTC Homes, Residents, Families and front-line Dietitians and Nutrition Managers. We educate at all levels of care to support a transparent, consistent approach to optimal nutritional care and quality of life for seniors.
Our vision is built around person centred care - for Residents and LTC Homes.
For our Residents: balancing nutritional needs, quality of life and each resident’s right to be involved in their care and to choose, even if it means their choice puts them at risk. Our role, as Dietitians and Nutrition Managers, is to do what we can to support optimal nutritional care, each Resident's choice around the foods and fluids they consume and make it as safe, comfortable and enjoyable as possible.
For our LTC Homes: supporting the dietary teams to support person centred care by advocating for their needs to achieve this including increased staffing levels, advocating for more flexibility around meal times, menu planning and meal service to better meet the changing needs and desires of their Residents.
Levels of Advocacy Efforts
In order to improve nutritional care for our Seniors, we need to advocate and educate at multiple levels. This includes each of the levels below. By providing education and support to each level, we can enhance collaboration and a consistent interpretation of the MLTC Regulations across the sector which can lead to improved care for our Seniors.
Federal / Provincial
Government & Ministry of Long-Term Care
Partners in LTC Sector
OLTCA, Advantage Ontario, ORCA
Partners in LTC Food Service Industry
Manufactures, Distributors, GPOs
Retirement Homes / LTC Homes & Leadership
CEOs, Administrators, Executive Directors
Families & Residents
Family Councils of Ontario (FCO), Ontario Association of Resident Councils (OARC)
Dietitians, Nutrition Managers, Certified Cooks & FSWs
Advocate for the profession
OSNAC and FNAT have been working hard over the past 2 years throughout the pandemic to continue to advocate for improved nutritional care for our Seniors. The Dietitians of Canada Ontario Long Term Care Action Group previous to OSNAC began this work and were able to accomplish mandated Dietitian hours in all LTC Homes back in 1996 starting at 15 minutes per resident per month which was increased to 30 minutes per resident per month in 2010. They also created the original 'Best Practice Guidelines for Nutrition, Food Service and Dining' document. OSNAC and FNAT continue to support these efforts and continue this momentum today.
Here are some key accomplishments and some ongoing efforts we have and continue to do to support advocacy efforts:
1. Multiple meetings with the LTC COVID Commission resulting in the inclusion of the need for increased Registered Dietitian time and nutrition supports.
2. Continued partnerships with key industry leaders across the sector such as OLTCA, AdvantAge Ontario, ORCA, CMTF, RIA/CLRI and more.
3. Regular collaboration with Family Councils of Ontario and Ontario Association of Resident Councils providing ongoing webinars and education.
4. Supported changes to the MLTC Regulations around Menu Planning and Meal Service and increased Food Budget through advocacy efforts including:
a. Monthly meetings directly with the Ministry of Long-Term Care (MLTC). In our meetings we are called upon to gather data, supply best practices, discuss and provide recommendations or changes to the dietary related legislation and quality initiatives.
b. The invitation to support the education of the existing and new MLTC Inspectors on the new upcoming regulation changes around menu planning and meal service in July 2022. This will support a consistent interpretation of the new regulations
c. The opportunity to meet with the MLTC Human Resources division to discuss our recommendations for dietary staffing in LTC.
5. Continued advocacy around increased support, time and efforts to dietary roles including not only the Dietitian, but Food Service Workers, Cooks and Nutrition Managers
6. Continued advocacy for increased Dietitian time in all LTC Homes to a minimum of 45 minutes/resident/month
7. Currently revising the Best Practices Guidelines for Nutrition, Foodservice & Dining document, which is a reliable resource used across the LTC sector, supported by MLTC, OLTCA and AdvantAge Ontario