The purpose of this study was to compare the newly released dietary reference intakes with the 1990 Nova Scotia Nutrition Survey and identify characteristics that influence compatibility with these new recommendations. For each of 17 nutrient recommendations, we calculated the proportion of participants who consumed intakes within the recommended range. We constructed a score reflecting overall compatibility between the new recommendations and the Nova Scotia Nutrition Survey data. Using this score as the dependent variable, we conducted multivariate regression analysis to evaluate the importance of demographic and behavioural factors for compatibility with the dietary reference intakes. Results indicate that compatibility with the dietary reference intakes was poor among Nova Scotians, particularly for magnesium, vitamins C and E, and macronutrients. Compatibility was lower among females than among males, and differed independently by age, body mass index, socioeconomic factors, smoking status, and alcohol consumption. Dietary intervention is needed in Nova Scotia. Reduced fat intake and increased intake of specific vitamins should be promoted. We recommend that nutrition education campaigns coinciding with the introduction of the dietary reference intakes in Nova Scotia target younger people, those of lower socioeconomic background, smokers, and those who are obese.