Ontario 2022 election campaign officially kicks off on Wednesday

Prime Minister Doug Ford will meet with the province’s lieutenant governor on Tuesday to request that the Ontario legislature be dissolved, his office says.

Elizabeth Dowdeswell is likely to accept his recommendation and the subpoenas for the provincial elections can then be officially signed.

That means the 2022 election campaign will officially kick off on Wednesday, with the vote scheduled for June 2.

The parties have been campaigning unofficially for weeks, with two of the three major parties having released their platform.

Right now, polls suggest the Progressive Conservatives are ready for re-election, with the Liberals in third potentially overtaking the NDP to form the official opposition.

But NDP leader Andrea Horwath insisted on Tuesday that her party is the best choice for what she calls “job number one”: beating Ford’s Progressive Conservatives.

Speaking at an event in Toronto, Horwath noted that in 2018 her party formed the official opposition in the legislature, while this time the Liberals are in the race with only seven seats in place.

She also highlighted her party’s platform promises about covering mental health services under OHIP, hiring more health workers and providing more affordable housing as priorities for the upcoming campaign.

“We know that the things that matter most to people can be addressed if we come together this time and make sure Doug Ford is defeated with a vote for the NDP,” she said.

Liberal leader Steven Del Duca said Ford and Horwath “seem to be on the same page,” with both attacking him, including any party that ran anti-Del Duca ads last year.

“I understand they’re going to continue to focus on me… I’m going to focus on the 15 million people who call this province home, and what they need and what they’re looking for and what they’re hoping for, if we coming out of this pandemic for a quality of life I think they deserve,” said Del Duca.

Elections Ontario is encouraging residents to vote early this year in hopes that polling crowds will ease during the pandemic.

When voters show up on Election Day, they will see physical distancing signage on the floor, plexiglass screens, hand sanitizer and masks available – face coverings are not required from voters or staff, but will be provided for those who want one.

But for those who want to avoid that, there will be 10 days of advanced voting, up from five, and Elections Ontario has a new online process to apply for a ballot by mail.

Elections Ontario has also launched a new app that allows voters to map their poll locations, see candidate information, vote options and get notifications when a new candidate is registered. It also provides an electronic version of the voter information card, complete with barcode.

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