Unemployment insurance: what is this Canadian model from which France wants to draw inspiration and which worries the unions?


While the executive has set itself the goal of achieving full employment by 2027, i.e. an unemployment rate of around 5% against 7.3% currently, Olivier Dussopt ensures that this objective is “possible” thanks to the reforms of the RSA and unemployment insurance.

“When things are going well, we tighten the rules and, when things are going badly, we relax them”. The Minister of Labor Olivier Dussopt considers it “necessary to go further” with regard to the reform of unemployment insurance and outlines his lines of work, in an interview with Le Parisien published on Tuesday July 26.

While the executive has set itself the goal of achieving full employment by 2027, i.e. an unemployment rate of around 5% against 7.3% currentlyOlivier Dussopt ensures that this objective is “possible” thanks to the reforms of the RSA and unemployment insurance.

“There is an urgency: that the unemployment insurance reform, decided in 2019 and implemented in 2021 due to Covid, see its rules extended. They expire on November 1, 2022”, poses the minister. This will go through a text of law presented at the start of the school year, which will be the first on the menu of Parliament on the return from the summer break from the beginning of October.

The minister explains that the government intends to extend these controversial rules “to allow this reform to continue to produce its positive effects and to think about the next step”. “It is necessary to go further,” he continues. “Our compensation rules must take into account the job market situation, as does, for example, Canada,” he explains, taking up a campaign commitment from Emmanuel Macron.

How does the Canadian model work?

In Canada, the registration of job seekers and their access to a number of days of compensation depends largely on the unemployment rate in their region of residence and not at the national level. Locally, the higher the level of unemployment, the longer the benefit period and vice versa. According to the Minister of Labor Olivier Dussopt, if the unemployment rate is less than 6%, the former employee must have worked 700 hours to be eligible. On the other hand, if the unemployment rate is higher than 13%, it will suffice to have worked 420 hours.

Unédic had estimated in the spring of 2021 that up to 1.15 million people opening rights in the year following the application would receive a lower monthly allowance (by 17% on average), with a “theoretical duration of extended compensation. In Canada, nearly 40% of job seekers remain unemployed for a month. While in France, 40% of registrants remain so for more than a year and a half.

“When we are in a situation where the economy is doing well, where jobs are being created, where business leaders are having difficulty recruiting, the unemployment insurance criteria must be very incentive and a little tougher, had clarified the minister on Europe 1. On the other hand, when the economy is bad and there are job cuts, the unemployment insurance criteria must be more protective for employees.

Union concerns

For the CGT, this new reform is “fuzzy and dangerous”, according to Denis Gravouil, secretary general, to AFP. It is “a kind of acceleration of the change in the nature of unemployment insurance, making it an instrument of pressure to accept any job”.

The Canadian model “looks pretty on paper”but “will mainly hit people who have difficulty finding a job”, adds Jean-François Foucard (CFE-CGC).

For Michel Beaugas, of Force Ouvrière, “it’s double, even the triple penalty for job seekers : the last reform already lowers the compensation and we are going to tell them: ‘We are going to shorten it'”. However, he underlines, the reason for the recruitment tensions, “is not unemployment insurance, but attractiveness of professions, hours, working conditions and salary.

This is “globally the gasworks“and” I did not see that it reduced the difficulties of recruitment”, estimates Bruno Coquet, specialist in unemployment insurance, at AFP. In this model, he sees it rather a “dressing of a reduction rights” while wanting to avoid any “trial of intent”.

Leave a Comment