I am so frustrated this morning. I am just finding out that my secondary insurance doesn't kick in until 90 days after I started work at this new job. I find that just outrageous. Thirty days is far more standard, though I've occasionally seen 60 days. I'm currently at 85 days and counting, and any number of things might have happened to me or my family in the meantime, especially given all the deck work and the power sanding I have been doing!
In addition, there are really large numbers of contract employees who get only the most basic insurance and no vacation at all. That may sound normal, but these are people on annual contracts that are often renewed 3 or 4 times. It really isn't all that different from the way universities are now relying on (yet exploiting) adjunct professors, though perhaps our contract employees have marginally more stability and job satisfaction. Certainly in our agency they have considerable responsibility and are not treated differently in staff meetings (while adjuncts are not at all part of their departments), but I can't help but think that the work would actually be done better by permanent employees, if for no other reason than the institutional memory is better with full-timers than contract employees and that actually matters a lot in agencies that do a lot of planning.
I suppose this is the consequence of being constantly bombarded by the message that government just wastes money and can't do anything right, so the government does in fact nickle and dime its employees in various areas, all to try to keep taxes low. I'm still incredibly annoyed that I even have to be worried about health insurance at all in Ontario, given that I am taxed for it and even had to pay the Ontario health premium last year. (I don't necessarily think that's an inconsistent stance to expect value for money for the taxes that we do pay, though some readers would probably not be too sympathetic.) It does worry me that there has been quite a large expansion of the private sector into health care, which really wasn't supposed to happen in Canada, particularly in Ontario.