TORONTO -- It seems like a millennia ago that Canadian citizens were asked to go to the ballot box. Since the pandemic, the majority of politicians have focused on dealing with various state of emergencies or implementing policies to help curb the spread of COVID-19.

Now, with a year before a provincial election and the possibility of the Prime Minister dropping the writ, the nature of politics is returning in full swing.

A few months ago, political strategists told CTV News Toronto the 2022 Ontario election will serve as a referendum of Premier Doug Ford’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, with voters focusing on how the Progressive Conservatives dealt with the lockdowns and reopenings.

Meanwhile, a July Nanos survey found that if a federal election were called, the economy would be the key issue for voters.

“It looks like Canadians are starting to pivot away from the pandemic,” said Nanos Research's Nik Nanos at the time. “And during the next election, they're going to want to hear about the economy and jobs. They're going to want to hear about the environment, about the deficit, about health care.”

In episode 5 of Life Unmasked, the team speaks with Queen’s Park Bureau Chief Colin D’Mello and CTV News Parliamentary Bureau Chief Annie Bergeron-Oliver about what comes next—how the pandemic will influence the upcoming elections and politics in the near future.

Life Unmasked airs first on the iHeart app every Thursday morning before becoming available on other streaming platforms. A bonus episode about how journalism has had to adapt throughout the pandemic will also be released over the weekend.

If you have questions for the podcast team, or an idea for an episode, please email lifeunmasked@bellmedia.ca.