Sask. family's SUV limo stuck in limbo at border
A big Saskatchewan family's new custom-built SUV limo is stuck in limbo between the Canadian and U.S. borders as officials on both sides refuse to let it cross.
Alison and Edwin Morris considered every option, from 15-passenger vans that they feel are unsafe, to a small school bus, to using two vehicles to get their family of 10 around. Nothing seemed to fit.
Finally, a custom auto mechanic in Oklahoma offered hope. He welds two automobile frames together to build large vehicles.
Before doing anything, the family consulted an official with the Canada Border Services Agency. They were told the vehicle would be considered certified in Canada.
But six months later, when the family was driving their big new ride home, Canadian border agents told them they couldn't bring the vehicle into the country.
In an emailed statement, Transport Canada says the vehicle is considered an import.
"If a vehicle is subsequently modified after the manufacturer has certified it, the secondary manufacturer or company that performed the modifications, must demonstrate, by way of recertification, that the vehicle still complies with the Canada Motor Vehicle Safety Standards," the department said.
The Canada Border Services Agency denies any wrongdoing. But Alison Morris says an official in Ottawa admitted she was given bad information.
Now, nine months and $90,000 later, the modified vehicle remains in no man's land between the Canadian and United States borders. The family can't return it to the U.S. for sale to recoup their loss because American officials won't let it across the border, saying it isn't certified.
With all avenues for redress seemingly exhausted, the family says they feel "helpless." They must continue to cram into a regular SUV that doesn't have enough seatbelts for all of them.
"(The police) are going to say we are the ones breaking the law, and we are," said Alison Morris.
"We have to endanger…one of our kids. We have to look them in the eye and say ‘sorry, you don't get a seatbelt today.'"
Based on a report by Kelsey Chadwick, CTV Regina