09/18/2014 07:10 EDT | Updated 06/16/2017 01:00 EDT

Chow, Tory continue campaigning, as Doug Ford prepares to join them

For Olivia Chow and John Tory, the mayoral campaign carries on, even as they wait for Doug Ford to join them on the campaign trail.

On Thursday evening, Chow and Tory will face off against one another in a debate hosted by the Italian Chamber of Commerce.

It's the latest of several showdowns the pair of high-profile mayoral candidates have had in recent days. While Ford will not join them at Thursday's event, his opponents are keeping him on their radar.

Ford joined the mayoral race before the nomination deadline last Friday, stepping in for his ailing brother, Mayor Rob Ford, who has since been diagnosed with a malignant liposarcoma.

Doug Ford ready to start campaigning

On Thursday morning, Chow made an appearance on CBC Radio's Metro Morning during which she was asked about the effect Rob Ford’s recent cancer diagnosis could have on the campaign.

"I think it's important that we focus on the policies, why we need a real change in direction and the voting record of Doug Ford," Chow said.

That was hours before the mayor released a three-minute audio statement from hospital later in the day, in which he urged voters to support his brother’s bid to replace him.

Tory addressed the Toronto Region Board of Trade on Thursday, but spent most of his speech talking about Chow and barely mentioned Doug Ford.

Ford, who has served as a municipal councillor throughout his brother's controversial term as mayor, said he intended to hit the hustings on Friday.

"We already have a solid team from what Rob has built and we just look forward to starting this campaign and getting out there," he said

So far, Doug Ford has a campaign website and he has a fundraiser planned for next week. But, he has not released a platform.

There are less than six weeks to go until Toronto voters head to the polls on Oct. 27. There are dozens of candidates seeking to become the city’s next mayor, in addition to Chow, Ford and Tory.