Donald Trump's inauguration as 45th president of the United States will be watched closely by Americans Friday, but many Canadians are also keeping an eye on developments south of our border.

Impact Hub Ottawa held a lunch session Thursday to discuss how the new administration's policies could affect Canadians. Issues such as gender rights, immigration, climate change and trade were just some of the topics discussed.

"It's really important that we consider the political events that are happening outside of our country and think about how that affects us as Canadians," said ecologist and environmental lawyer Carissa Wong.

Carissa Wong

Carissa Wong says it's important for Canadians to consider the political events that are happening in the United States. (Idil Mussa/CBC)

Wong said one of the things that concerns her is the increasing polarization around environmental issues in Canada — something she's seen happen in the U.S.

"There's such a radicalization of issues now. There's the pro-left, pro-right. I think Trump is sort of an example of one position that is very extreme, and I would like to see more opportunities for connections," said Wong.

Sarah Hedges-Chou, who works with the Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights, said she'll be monitoring the new administration closely. "It is really relevant to our work," she said.

Planned Parenthood funding under threat

Hedges-Chou said she worries Trump's policies could have a lasting impact on social services that radiate well beyond the U.S. border.

Sarah Hedges-Chou

Sarah Hedges-Chou says she worries about cuts to sexual and reproductive health services in the U.S., and how that could affect similar programs around the world. (Idil Mussa/CBC)

"A lot of funding could be on the line in terms of Planned Parenthood, which does work around the world. That could have a huge effect on the work that they do," she said, referring to the pro-choice community health agency that the incoming vice president vowed to de-fund during his election campaign.

While many worry about the negative impact policy changes in the U.S. might have on Canadians, Wong believes there may be some benefits that stem from the new administration.

"Trump's really an isolationist from what we can tell. He wants things to be done locally rather than in other countries, and I think that has some consistencies with the environmental movement in the sense that we're trying to focus on local production in many ways and being responsive to the local environment."