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The government wants to set up a graduation of the rules for compensation for jobseekers according to the economic situation. This logic has existed for more than forty years across the Atlantic, where it shows its limits.
On the third floor of a small building in Montreal, Jérémy Dhavernas crosses his arms and points his chin at his computer screen. “If you are an unemployed person and you are presented with this table summarizing the terms of access to your rights, your nose will bleed!” squeaks this lawyer from the city’s Unemployment Action Movement (MAC), an organization defending the rights of the unemployed. Every Tuesday it organizes information meetings open to everyone. Putting the multi-entry table aside, the lawyer popularizes the Canadian workers’ compensation system as best he can: “The unemployment rate for your economic region [il en existe 62, ndlr], sets the minimum number of hours it is necessary to have worked within the last 12 months to be eligible and the minimum number of weeks of unemployment benefits.
In each region, each month, the unemployment rate is used to determine the “variable standard of availability”. A principle introduced by Prime Minister Pierre-Eliott Trudeau in 1978. In October, an unemployed Montrealer, where the unemployment rate is low, must work 700 hours to obtain fourteen weeks’ pay at 55% of his salary. In Gaspé, 750 km from Montreal, it is the opposite: The high unemployment rate gives access to fourteen weeks’ unemployment benefits for 525 hours of work. On paper, it looks like the unemployment insurance model that Emmanuel Macron praised during the presidential campaign, “more str