Harinder Takhar resigned as government services minister on Thursday and announced his intention to join the race to replace Premier Dalton McGuinty.
The other leadership hopefuls so far are Kathleen Wynne, Glenn Murray, Charles Sousa, Eric Hoskins, Sandra Pupatello and Gerard Kennedy.
McGuinty said he was recommending that Finance Minister Dwight Duncan take on Takhar's portfolio.
Midnight Friday is the deadline for those who want to seek the leadership and the party will choose the new leader at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto in late January.
Takhar says he plans to use his experience to empower Ontario's small business engine to create jobs and help Ontario families be the best they can be.
"I started and built several small businesses from the ground up, always recognizing that stable, reliable and well-paying jobs are the cornerstone of success for families and communities," Takhar said on his Facebook page.
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