Prior to his full time career in the visual arts, Bernard Poulin worked in the fields of special education and the treatment of children and families suffering from emotional difficulties.
A qualified elementary and high school teacher, in 1965, he founded the first private school for French speaking children in need of treatment for emotional difficulties in Ontario. He then, in 1967, set up the first special education classes for French speaking children of the Ottawa Separate School Board and then worked with the Ottawa Board of Education as a special education teacher. As well, he was a guest professor of Special Education at Ottawa University and Laurentian University of Sudbury.
Poulin has lectured throughout the provinces of Ontario and Quebec and has written several articles on special education and family and child behaviour dynamics for professional magazines.
Between the years 1973 and 1978 he was a member of several psychiatric teams at the Royal Ottawa and Ottawa General Hospitals where he co-founded the francophone unit of the MF McHugh Schools - a therapeutic academic service to institutionalized children suffering from emotional difficulties.