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Healthy delegates and a healthy environment

The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) continues to strive to make General Council (GC) a healthy and environmentally sound experience for delegates and observers.

From the moment they get up each morning, attendees will be presented with healthy choices to keep their minds and bodies focused on the sessions at hand.

Walk the Doc outings take place daily (while GC is in session) at 6 am, along scenic walking or jogging routes starting from the lobby of the Westin Hotel.

On Wednesday, the Academy of Medicine Ottawa invites delegates and spouses to a free yoga session on the grounds of Parliament Hill over the lunch hour.

Healthy food choices will be offered throughout the day, and this year the CMA is taking additional steps to reduce food waste.

After meeting with CMA and the Academy of Medicine Ottawa, Westin Ottawa agreed to participate in a program called La Tablée des Chefs, a sustainable food brokerage service. All nutritious food left over from GC will be safely delivered to those in need within the Ottawa region. The Ottawa Convention Centre (OCC) is piloting this project for GC, and Tourism Ottawa supports the program.

General Council venues are environmentally sensitive in other ways, too. The OCC is a LEED Gold convention centre (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), and the Westin Ottawa is the first Starwood Hotel to have received two Five Green Keys ratings from Green Key Global and the Hotel Association of Canada — the highest possible rating for environmental awareness. The Fairmont Chateau Laurier has earned four green keys for energy and water conservation, waste management and community outreach.

The movement towards a truly paperless meeting makes more gains this year, with all essential documents being made available online in advance of the meeting or distributed electronically while GC is in progress.

One of the GC display booths this year features the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE), illustrating the connections between health and the environment and explaining how physicians are well positioned to take to take action on climate change to protect health.