Unemployment insurance: what is this Canadian model that the government wants to draw inspiration from?

Interviewed in Le Parisien, Olivier Dussopt, Minister of Labor, returned to the new unemployment insurance reform desired by the government to achieve the campaign axis and Emmanuel Macron’s five-year objective: full employment. in 2027. The new unemployment insurance rules put in place by the 2019 reform, applied in 2021, indeed expire in November 2022, and the government wishes not only to extend them, but also to review them, to ” take into account the labor market situation. “When things are going well, the rules are tightened and when things are going badly, they are relaxed,” summarizes Olivier Dussopt. This is also what the former president of the MoDem group at the National Assembly, Patrick Mignola, explained on our antenna last May: “In times of economic difficulty, the rules of compensation must be relaxed, on the other hand, when we have an economy that is doing better, we have to be more demanding in terms of unemployment insurance. In this regard, the Minister of Labor evokes “the example of Canada. »

The Canadian model: regional differentiation

In July 2022, Canada’s unemployment rate hit a record high of 4.9%, but beyond the relatively low overall level of unemployment, it is the low rate of long-term unemployment that appears to make Canada a model for the government. According to a study by Unedic, in 2019, among the unemployed, 8.5% were long-term unemployed, compared to 38.8% in France, 40% of Canadian job seekers remaining unemployed for less than a month. , compared to 6% in France. The Canadian logic in terms of unemployment benefits to achieve these results is based on regional differentiation, introduced by a 2012 reform. Depending on the regional unemployment rate, you have to work more or fewer hours to be entitled to benefits: in a region with less than 6% unemployment, it is necessary to work more than 700 hours over the last 52 weeks, whereas in a region with an unemployment rate of more than 13.1%, it is sufficient to have worked 420 hours over the same period.

Similarly, the number of weeks compensated depends on the number of hours worked (as in France) and can range from 14 to 45 weeks, but it can also vary from simple to triple depending on the regional unemployment rate: from 14 to 36 weeks for a person who has worked 700 hours, depending on whether they are in a region with an unemployment rate below 6% or above 16%. Finally, the calculation of the compensation is done on the same logic: it takes into account the 22 best weeks in regions with less than 6% unemployment rate, against the 14 best weeks in a region with more than 13.1 % unemployment. All these calculation methods are intended to better compensate job seekers in regions where it is difficult to find a job, and on the contrary to “tighten the rules”, as Olivier Dussopt said, in regions where the labor market job is more fluid. The question that remains is the relevance of such a regionalized system in a centralized country like France, where the disparities in unemployment rates are more linked to the employment area – and therefore more to a municipal or inter-municipal scale – than on a regional and even departmental scale.


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