Helping to Protect Canadians – One DIY Mask at a Time

Army of Masks is a volunteer movement with a vital mission: to protect lives during COVID-19. Its goal – a DIY mask for every Canadian and American. Army of Masks has amplified awareness of protective masks for all and coordinated delivery of free, homemade, non-medical cotton masks within Canada and the USA.

“We cannot put a price on a life,” says Tonya Dickenson, a Queen’s MBA graduate and Country Lead for Canada for the Army of Masks.

On the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, Army of Masks received a boost from Dr. Roberta Bondar, the first female astronaut and neurologist in space and proud University of Guelph graduate. “I’m not asking for the moon, I’m asking you to stay home, keep calm, and even make a mask or two. That would be one small step for mankind, and one giant leap for Earth.” See the YouTube video at Army of Masks. The nod came on the heels of support from the Ontario Home Economics Association (OHEA).

A key feature of Army of Masks is a custom app, developed by Sho Conte, a PhD research student at the TAG lab at the University of Toronto, that geographically matches and expedites mask needed in the community, with masks made sometimes within hours. Army of Masks claims no credit for making masks. Credit goes to individual mask makers, associations, churches, scout troops. Each mask is tracked and credited back.

To date, more than 11,000 requests have been met for nurses, seniors’ centers, law enforcement personnel, homeless shelters, individual families and others in North America. On April 29, the app registered over 4,000 mask requests to be filled by sewers and delivered free by volunteers. Tracked requests understate the number of masks needed, made and delivered by the community, since volunteers also make masks for family, friends, neighbors and colleagues without going through the app.

While the masks are not meant to replace surgical or N95 masks, they do help to slow the spread of COVID-19. Every mask protects lives and alleviates stress on overwhelmed health-care workers.

Volunteers can help by making masks (sew and non-sew instructions are available at the one-stop-shop website: or by delivering, coordinating and collecting fabric and elastic donations.

Please help slow the spread of this vicious virus.


Founded by Mireille Bani, Country Lead for the USA and Operations Director. Tonya Dickenson is Country Lead for Canada and International Marketing and Strategic Planning Director. Other core members include Jill Bordelon-Munir of Tandem Communications  (credited for the website, all branding and social media), and Heather Sullivan of AIM Films (credited for social media and video production).

This Media Release