Canadian Election 2021: Date, Candidates and Justin Trudeau Approval Ratings

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called a snap election for next month as he seeks to capitalize on his administration's handling of the coronavirus pandemic in the hope of securing a third term.

"The decisions your government makes right now will define the future your kids and grandkids will grow up in," Trudeau told reporters after meeting with Governor-General Mary Simon. Simon holds a mostly ceremonial position representing Britain's Queen Elizabeth II as head of state and has the power to dissolve Parliament.

"So in this pivotal, consequential moment, who wouldn't want a say? So to the other parties, please explain why you don't think Canadians should get a choice, why you don't think that this is a pivotal moment. I'm focused on our real plan. I'm focused on the path forward."

Here's all you need to know.

When is Canada's next election?

Canadians will head to the polls on September 20 after Governor-General Simon approved Justin Trudeau's request to dissolve parliament, triggering the process of Canada's 44th federal election.

Campaigning will last just 36 days, the minimum length permitted by Canadian law. Up until Sunday, Canada's next fixed-date election was set for October 2023.

Who are the candidates?

The leader of the Liberal Party since 2013, Justin Trudeau is seeking to win a new mandate after taking the party to power in 2015 and then winning a second term four years later. While Trudeau was confirmed as prime minister in 2019, the Liberals failed to win an outright majority and have had to rely on opposition parties to pass legislation, as well as to approve emergency coronavirus spending.

Trudeau's rivals include the New Democratic leader Jagmeet Singh, Conservative opposition leader Erin O'Toole, Bloc Quebecois leader Yves-Francois Blanchet and Annamie Paul of the Green Party. Unlike Trudeau, none of his opponents have expressed a desire to head to the polls.

"It's not the right time to have an election," Singh said earlier this week.

"People might say 'that that's what governments do' [...] I don't think that's what governments do when you're in the middle of a pandemic."

In a video released on social media earlier this week, O'Toole struck a similar tone.

"Canadians are worried about a fourth wave of Covid-19 [...] Now is not the time for an election. We can all wait and go to the polls when it's safe," he said.

What are the polls saying?

According to CBC's Poll Tracker, 35.6 percent of Canadians said they would vote for the Liberal Party, while the Conservatives and the NDP polled at 28.8 percent and 19.3 percent respectively. Meanwhile, data from the Angus Reid Institute found the Liberals were five points clear of the Conservatives in the polls.

If confirmed, both forecasts would put the Liberals on track to secure the 170 seats needed to form a majority government.

However, data from the Angus Reid Institute also showed 58 percent of Canadians disapprove of Trudeau, as opposed to 38 percent who approve of his leadership.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives for an EU-Canada summit at the European Council building in Brussels, Monday, June 14. (Stephanie Lecocq, Pool via AP) Stephanie Lecocq/Pool/AP Photo