If it hadn't been checked on a plane I would say you could order new harness straps and you would be fine (that's $12 instead of buying a new seat). But checked on a plane means you need a new seat.
As far as the Canadian new rules go, the seat itself is not expired. Meaning she cannot sell it. But, she would be allowed to use it for her future children until its expiration (graco expires after 6 years, same with most infant seats). I would consider passing it down to family the same thing as letting a sibling use it and wouldn't think twice about that part. They're just trying to get long expired seats out of circulation and have set some new safety standards. I would say that other than being checked on a plane that seat is still safe and most CPSTs up there will still use a seat passed down from family if it's been treated correctly and not expired.
she is currently still using it and has no problem doing so or passing it down to me. It's just a matter of if I'm willing to take that risk??? I asked someone I know who works with infant seats and safety (i dont know her exact title) but she looked up the model number for me and said the seat is not compliant and that Graco publicly came out saying all compliant seats start with the number 8 now - this seat does not.
there are some inexpensive seats out there, so I just found one and out it on the registry. If it doesn't get bought, we still have time to buy it ourselves before baby gets here.
Again, since it hasn't hit the expiration most techs I know in Canada would use it given its age. It's just selling it that's not allowed. I would take that risk without question knowing that the techs on car-seat.org will. None of them ran out and replaced all of their seats in Jan '12 because of the new rules and they allow for families to continue using them until expiration, just not for the sale of them.
But the fact that it's been checked on a plane means it counts as crashed and shouldn't be used. I know many people who use checked seats but techs say not to and it's not something I would be comfortable doing (in fact, I replaced my non-expired infant seat for the baby I'm expecting now because I had gate checked it before I learned that).
The new Canadian regs are because they changed and updated the safety standards to which the seats had to pass at during crash tests and other standards. And zero, absolutely nothing, nada, zilch to do with the manufacturers trying to make more money. None. The new standards were set by the goverment (Transport Canada), the manufacturers are out money to pay for compliance testing. No one had to replace non-expired seats they were currently using, so there was no rush to suddenly replacing thousands of seats. In fact, a few manufacturers had to make modifications (and setting this up cost money), so I can't see them doing this and being out of pocket out of the kindness of their own hearts. Oh, and for the most part, the expiration on most seats stayed the same, the only real change was with Diono as they added the booster feature and they also changed expiry.
RM, I wouldn't use your family member's car seat, one, because it's a prior to an 1, 2012 seat, and cannot be sold or given away (even to family), and two, because it sounds like the seat could have had damage from being checked (why guess if it is). If it was still compliant and she'd washed the straps, and you were sure that the rest of it was okay, I'd say order new straps and go for it, but not in this case.