Former Ontario Liberal cabinet minister Steven Del Duca has become the first candidate to officially enter the party’s leadership race.

Del Duca announced his intention to campaign to lead Ontario’s Liberal Party back in April, saying that he will ensure half of the party’s candidates for the next provincial election are women and at least 30 of them are under the age of 30.

On July 19, the former minister officially registered his bid for the leadership with Elections Ontario, making him the first and only candidate to do so.

In a news release issued on Monday, Del Duca said he was “humbled by the support” he has received.

“It is encouraging to know that so many dedicated Liberals, representing communities all over Ontario, are rebuilding alongside me,” he said in a statement. “We all have one shared goal: to make sure that Doug Ford’s first term in office is his last.”

The Liberal reign in Ontario came to an end in the 2018 election after voters chose to elect the Progressive Conservative party under Premier Doug Ford, leading to the resignation of Kathleen Wynne as Liberal party leader.

Speaking to CTV News Toronto in May, the former minister said that if the Liberals were to return to power, the party should consider uploading the Gardiner Expressway and Don Valley Parkway, and offer transit rides a 50 per cent fare discount during off-peak hours.

Liberal MPP Michael Coteau and former candidate Alvin Tedjo have also indicated their hope to lead Ontario’s Liberal Party; although as of Monday afternoon, neither had officially registered.

Candidates have until November 25 to announce their leadership bid. Contenders will also have to raise $100,000 to enter the race.

The party will choose a new leader on March 7, 2020