ol ActIn a just society, the ruling authority must decide what is right when allocating wealth to its individual citizens. The same ruling authority does this by intervening with the inner workings of a marketplace to uphold its fundamental values and ideals. The aim of government intervention is to create a just society that will reflect the peoples values. Governing bodies do this by establishing laws that enforce fairness or equity. The Ontario government passed the Rent Control Act in 1975. The law levels the playing field between landlords and tenants. New units are exempt from controls for their first five years after which the controls are put into place. The controls put a ceiling on annual rent increases. Under current law, a landlord may only increase a tenants rent by 2% plus inflation.1 As with all other markets, the housing market is based on supply and demand. If the nature of the market were allowed to take its course, then the price of housing would become unaffordable for most citizens. An unfair situation would be created where power and money would be disproportionately appropriated to land owners. Rent control laws were established by previous governments to protect society and its people from inflated and uncontrollable housing costs. The Harris government now wants to repeal these laws. On June 25 the Minister of Housing, Al Leach, released a policy paper outlining the changes that are to be made to Ontarios rent laws. Conservative legislators plan to pass the proposed Tenant Protection Act in the fall. The omnibus legislation will rescind the Rent Control Act, the Landlord and Tenant Act, the Rental Housing Protection Act, Residents Rights Act, the Land Lease Statute Amendment Act, the Vital Services Act.2 The most objectionable change allows the act to lift controls off vacant units. The 3.2 million renters in Ontario are very concerned about the changes.3 The housing ministry will accept written submissions from the public until August 30. Public hearings are also planned in hope that they will ease the transition. However, most people are indignant towards the idea. Changing the rent control laws would be detrimental to society as they threaten citizens positive right to affordable housing, harm their mobility rights and increase the gap between the rich and the poor.

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