OTTAWA -- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has confirmed that Canadian and U.S. officials have agreed to keep the border between the two countries closed to non-essential travel until August 21.

The ban on discretionary travel was first introduced in March and has been extended each month since. The latest extension was set to expire on July 21.

"Once again, Canada and the United States have agreed to extend the current border measures by one month until August 21, and we're going to keep working closely with our American neighbours to keep people safe on both sides of the border,” Trudeau said on Thursday.

The extension was expected, with sources telling CTV News earlier this week that it was coming. 

The agreement, as it stands, exempts the flow of trade and commerce, as well as temporary foreign workers and vital health-care workers such as nurses who live and work on opposite sides of the border. Tourists and cross-border visits remain prohibited.

This is the fourth renewal of the border restrictions since the coronavirus pandemic was declared, and comes as cases of COVID-19 continue to surge in the United States. Canada’s epidemic curve has flattened and most of the country is reopening under ongoing precautions in what’s been described as the new normal for the foreseeable future.

As of June 9, foreign nationals who are immediate family members of either Canadian citizens or permanent residents can enter Canada to be reunited, under a limited exemption to the current border restrictions. This has allowed both foreign and cross-border Canada-U.S. families to reunite under certain stipulations. 

While the restrictions have now been in place for months, it hasn’t stopped some Americans from trying to cross into Canada, and there have been some instances of U.S. travellers entering into Canada improperly.