Should social assistance cheques be staggered to avoid "Welfare Wednesday" phenomenon?

Victoria's police chief is proposing a way to take the pressure off emergency services on so-called "Welfare Wednesdays" -- the 3rd Wednesday of the month when social assistance cheques are out.

Chief Constable Del Manak says in the day or two after the cheques go out police, and other emergency responders, see increased 9-1-1 calls.

Manak proposes staggering the release of the cheques to take the pressure off:

" It is stretching our resources thin.  And I'm just looking to have a conversation with government to see if there is another alternative that wouldn't be pushing this downstream to all the first responders."

Manak says there's a definite spike in calls for for drug overdoses, robberies, and other issues which impacts the ability to respond to other calls.

But Victoria Cool Aid Society's Don McTavish says having a set time for cheque distribution has some benefits for agencies like his:

"We do our services sort of around the monthly time that the cheques will come out so we have more meals and food available in the couple of weeks prior to the cheques coming out . Then we know that when the cheques come out we touch in with our folks that might get into trouble with drinking or using during that time. And we ramp up the sort of awareness in our buildings that people might be coming and going or overdosing."

McTavish says staggering cheques could spread out the number of overdoses. But he says it could have the unintended impact of placing those who get their cheques first in harms way, as those who have to wait could target them.

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