The writ has dropped and Canadians will officially go to the polls next month.

Candidates are already hard at work since the writ was dropped last week.

But what are the challenges they face? And what issues matter most to Maritimers?

Is there one issue that will rise above the rest this federal election?

"Number one has and will be jobs," said Ed McHugh, a business instructor at NSCC. "In a region where we have fought up against some high unemployment in certain regions, jobs would be number one, front and centre."

While the economy is important, other issues will also come into play.

The election call comes less than a week after post-tropical storm Dorian blew through the Maritimes.

The Ecology Action Centre hopes Canadians will be thinking about the environment when they vote this time.

"I don't know what we need for people and our politicians to wake up to the threat and cost of putting off dealing with the climate issue," said Mark Butler of the Ecology Action Centre.

In Nova Scotia, many young people are taking on mortgage-sized debt in order to get an education.

That's something the Canadian Federation of Students wants to see addressed from coast to coast.

"Young people and students are particularly concerned about access to education and climate change and so that includes looking at a national, affordable post-secondary plan for the entire nation," said Lianne Siao of the Canadian Federation of Students.

When it comes to health care, Doctors Nova Scotia would like to see a national pharmacare program and for the feds to step up and increase the Canada health transfer, taking into account the aging population.

"As the population ages, if that health transfer doesn't sort of catch up, it can continue to decline," said Kevin Chapman of Doctors Nova Scotia. "So the feds, I think, clearly have an opportunity and perhaps an obligation to step up and sort of repatriate their share of health-care costs and help out."

If there's one person who knows what it takes to get elected, it's Joanne Bernard.

She's a former Liberal MLA and community services minister.

Bernard was also the first openly-gay person elected to the Nova Scotia Legislature and knows firsthand how difficult politics can be.

"I had the misogyny, I had the homophobia, and I had a difficult portfolio, so, I had a trifecta of a target on my back," Bernard said. "It just is not necessary for any person who puts their name on a ballot to be subjected to harassment, violence of any kind. It's not part of politics."

Canadians will go to the polls on Oct. 21.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Natasha Pace.

Editor's note: A previous version of this story indicated that Ed McHugh was running for the Conservative Party of Canada, which was inaccurate. CTV regrets the error.