Psychology professor at Université du Québec en Outaouais struck off for sexual misconduct
Stéphane Bouchard, a professor in the Department of Psychology and Psychoeducation at the Université du Québec en Outaouais (UQO) and holder of the Canada Research Chair in Clinical Cyberpsychology, has been temporarily disbarred from the Ordre des psychologues du Québec for 10 months. Bouchard, who is also co-director of UQO's Cyberpsychology Laboratory, pleaded guilty to two charges involving sexual misconduct that took place between 2011 and 2016 involving students. The professor, who is well known in the local and regional media for having given interviews and workshops on several occasions in connection with psychology, began his disbarment on April 8. Mr. Bouchard is accused of having made comments and behaved in a sexual manner towards a doctoral student, in addition to having lacked rigor and professionalism by maintaining, in the laboratory for which he was responsible, a climate conducive to interactions and discussions of a sexual nature. The researcher did not deny these facts and was found guilty by the Disciplinary Board of the Ordre des psychologues du Québec on February 28, 2022. In addition to being temporarily struck from the Order, Mr. Bouchard was also ordered to pay a fine of $5500.
The Université du Québec en Outaouais mentions, through a press release /obtained by the Bulletin/OR/destined for the media/, that "[... ] when the UQO was informed of these events and of the complaint in 2018, management acted promptly and immediately launched an investigation, the results of which showed, among other things, that Professor Bouchard's actions had ceased since 2016. It is important to note that no other events involving Professor Stéphane Bouchard have been reported to date." It is also mentioned that "The University has always condemned the professor's actions and assures that all appropriate individual and collective measures have been taken since then to maintain a work and study environment free of any form of harassment and reprehensible behavior and thus ensure a healthy and safe environment for its entire community." On the side of the Association générale des étudiants de l'UQO (AGE-UQO), raised concerns were shared through a Facebook post: "We have confidence in the good faith of the administration to put in place measures to protect individual students, but we are concerned, in general, about the difficult dynamics that remain in the psychology program and that are reported to us year after year, cohort after cohort, without the culture changing despite our denunciations." Finally, the Ordre des psychologues du Québec, contacted by email, did not respond to the Bulletin's request for comment.
Photo caption: Stéphane Bouchard
Photo credit: from Mr. Bouchard's teacher page on the UQO website