Whenever the world is in economic turmoil, visionaries emerge from amidst the chaos to lead society back to prosperity. Programs like the New Deal changed government policies and allowed economies to recover and eventually prosper. In this current economic crisis, the most logical thing governments can do is repeal child labour laws.
Children in society are treated much differently now than they were in past generations. My father grew up on a farm doing chores, something his parents often told him "built character." Children nowadays spend their youth playing video games and surfing the Internet-- activities that studies indicate make them fat and lazy. Allowing children to work would not only instill in them the same kind of hard-earned heartiness found in previous generations, but it would undoubtedly increase their physical and mental well-being-- depending on what kind of work they get.
The effects on the children themselves notwithstanding, repealing antiquated child labour regulations would boost the Canadian economy greatly. As of the 2001 census, there were over five million Canadians under the age of 14. Adding them to the workforce could increase the productive capacity of the economy by nearly a quarter, depending on how hard the children work.
Furthermore, while the average employee in today's working world is besieged by bills and expenses that reduce the amount they can inject into the economy, the average six-year-old has no such limitations. With no car payments, credit card bills or mortgage to pay, a working child would have no choice but to inject their wages into the market through frivolous spending. The effects of their spending would circulate throughout, providing an extra boost in these trying times, while the added income and sales tax paid to the government would allow it to better fund programs.
The Industrial Revolution was a time of unparalleled economic growth, fueled in part by the hard work of children. Introducing child labour laws served to protect children from hazards found in factories and mines. Today's workplace is much less industrial than in the 19th century and so it makes no sense to protect children from the non-existent bogeymen of labour, especially when all working Canadians have to complain about is taxes and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
As long as children were adequately compensated and protected to the same degree as their older co-workers, excluding them from the workforce entirely on the basis of their age seems unnecessarily discriminatory. Allowing children to work would build character, improve their physical condition and immeasurably boost the economic well-being of Canada. We shouldn't necessarily force children to get jobs, but they should be allowed the same opportunities as any other Canadian.