DIY Masks in Canada

Due to the extreme demand in healthcare facilities, it’s up to Canadians to make their own DIY masks. If you have time to make more masks than your family needs, please see the bottom of this page for places to donate DIY Masks in Canada to medical facilities.

9 Million Masks Needed Per Week in Canada, Says Leading Nurse

In a recent interview with Global News, Doris Grinspun, CEO of the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario, has confirmed that numerous members of her group have contracted COVID-19 due to a lack of personal protection equipment (PPE). She also calculated the demand for masks in Canada, based on her observation of France’s consumption:

“We need nine million per week… nine million a week! So the feds need to move first of all, and they aren’t moving, nor is the province.”

Her estimates should be taken seriously. For over 20 years, Grinspun has led programs in Latin and Central America, China, Australia, and Europe and published and spoken extensively. Grinspun is a powerful advocate of Canada’s well regarded universal health system and is recognized for her contribution to nurse practitioners and registered nurses.

Fortunately, in response to the crisis, Prime Minister Trudeau has heard the dire warning and advised that thousands of Canadian companies are re-tooling their production lines to manufacture much-needed ventilators. They will also manufacture personal protection equipment (PPE) for critical, front line workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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DIY Fabric Face Masks Can Help

If you want to leave the house safely, you should wear a mask. There are some fabric masks online now, but few “N95” filtering masks available online.

Ready to make a mask? See our “articles” list for a terrific selection of DIY mask videos, both for the fitted “duckbill” and the flat “pleated” style. They are easy to make! All you need for masks for viruses is some scrap fabric (sheets, or woven shirts), and it’s best if you include some sewing interfacing. One shortcut to sewing a mask is to order this well-rated Balaclava Ski Face mask, and simply hand-sew in a few layers of fabric on the inside mouth and nose area for more protection. The fabric of a balaclava alone will not protect you, but a layer of interfacing will go a long way to help block and filter any droplets from conversations or coughing.

Join Canadian Makers and Sewers in Making Masks

From large national groups to small community drives, someone needs your help. Can’t sew? No problem. Most of these groups need fabric cutters and supplies drivers.

All provinces: “Canada Sews” supports front-line health and service industry workers, and kids going back to school. Their volunteers make urgently-needed face masks and scrub caps. Chapters make every effort to avoid physical contact, and efficiently deliver supplies and completed items. Each chapter has a goal to produce and distribute PPE in the same region where they were made. For an extensive list of chapters and their Facebook groups, go to Beyond joining the countrywide “Canada Sews” group, please join a Facebook makers group closest to you. On such group with over 3500 members is: Canada Sews – Ontario East. Find your closest group and trade tips and trick and supplier leads.

Toronto: The Sewing Army is the much needed group created by clothing designer Diana Coatsworth. She saw the the shortage of personal protective equipment for essential and healthcare workers during this COVID-19 pandemic. The Sewing Army gathers all kinds of makers in North America to make DIY cloth face masks for people and organizations that need PPE. Even if you can’t sew, they need all kinds of other helpers so please get in touch.

Guelph: Southwest from Toronto, The Merry Mask Makers is offering kits with everything volunteers need to make 1000 masks for people in need in the local community:

  • All you do is use your sewing machine and volunteer your time.
  • Each kit contains the materials needed to assemble multiple masks in your home
  • There is no cost for kits to make masks. The cost for the material are being covered by United Way Guelph Wellington Dufferin and the Community Foundation of Guelph.
  • Video tutorials will be online later this week for different mask styles, and if makers need assistance, they are able to chat over Zoom or email message.
  • Volunteers are deliver supplies and finished masks, no sewing skills required.

The Merry Mask Makers program is being run by Stephanie Clarke, Guelph Tool Library facilitator. If you are interested to register to sew DIY face masks or want be on the distribution list to receive completed masks, contact Stephanie at

Hospitals Accepting Donations of DIY Masks in Canada

Some handy people are making DIY masks in Canada, both for themselves and for donation. We need to keep our healthcare workers well… this is going to be a long haul.

Brantford General
Grand River Hospital
Halton Healthcare
Humber River Hospital
Joseph Brant Hospital
Lakeridge Health
Markham Stouffville
North Bay Regional Health Centre Foundation
North York General Hospital
Ontario Shores (Whitby)
Ross Memorial Hospital
Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre
Scarborough Health Network
SouthLake Regional Health Centre
Sunnybrook Hospital
Stevenson Memorial Hospital
St. Joseph’s
St. Mary’s
Trillium Health Partners Mississauga
William Osler

With careful behaviors, the pandemic curve is flattening in Canada. To hold the line on that defense, all Canadians should continue to wear masks and/or face shields, and continue to stay home as much as possible. Most importantly, keep your hands and home clean! See our page packed with tips of places in your home and office you might not realize are really dirty.