How to Structure an Economic Recovery Team


Our previous blog post, The Importance of Collaboration to Support Economy Recovery, discussed how initiatives that are built on collaboration will be stronger and more resilient. The next two posts will delve into best practices to consider when structuring your recovery team so it can best support your local businesses.

Economic Recovery Management Committees or Economic Recovery Taskforces provide focus and lead the efforts throughout the recovery process. The team has several core functions and roles including:

  • planBuilding a consensus on goals and priorities for a Recovery Plan and subsequent Action Plans.
  • Guiding and supporting the work process.
  • Overseeing the activities of working groups so that recovery projects and activities are integrated and work toward common goals.
  • Engaging, encouraging, and creating partnerships with a range of stakeholders in the community so the recovery can benefit from their energy and commitment.
  • Disseminating information and facilitating communication to the broader community about the recovery and progress toward the goals.

Organizing for Action

It is important to include partner organizations into the recovery team so that you have buy-in to the process. This will help to ensure the long-term viability of the recovery efforts. It is recommended that a Management Committee/Recovery Taskforce be formed or that the mandate of an existing committee shifts their focus to recovery. The composition of the committee may change over time and should be reviewed periodically; however, members should include:

  • meetingEconomic development agencies/tourism associations
  • Community Futures Development Corporations
  • Business organizations (Chambers of Commerce and Business Improvement Associations)
  • Workforce and training organizations
  • Public Health
  • Regional/Municipal representatives (Councillors, administrators, planners, members of departments)
  • Sector organizations
  • Financial lending institutions
  • Community organizations

Working Groups

Within the Economic Recovery Management Leadership Recovery Committee/Taskforce there are subcommittees known as working groups. These groups can concentrate on a specific strategy or focus area. There are several essential reasons to establish working groups that are common to all regardless of the tasks at hand.

circle diagramThese include:

  • Sharing responsibilities
  • Involving more members
  • Using the specialized skills of members
  • Providing a vehicle where matters can be examined in more detail
  • Allowing the management committee to complete its business more efficiently by delegating work to committees

Structuring the Work: Developing Terms of Reference

With a group of local key partners identified, developing a Terms of Reference will help to build a more detailed work plan which sets out the tasks, and steps you will take to complete them, over the course of the agreed upon time period.

Check with your municipality or neighbouring municipalities as they may have an existing template to work from.

The table below can be used to guide the development of a Terms of Reference document.

Establish the mandate of the committeeicon 1 Develop clear objectives to be accomplished. What types of actions will the group take on?

This answers the question “What?”

Set Parameters and Limitations of the committee 

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A well-defined set of parameters for decision-making and clearly ranked priorities will bring greater success.

  • What authority does the committee have to make decisions?
  • What is in scope and out of scope?
  • What is it not responsible for (if there is some doubt?)
  •  Rank the priorities of the committee

This answers the question “What we may and may not do?

Define Accountability and Structure for the Committee

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If you are a committee of council, accountability will be defined by the municipality. If you have a different structure you will need to clarify with all members how the committee will communicate with and keep the municipality informed of your work.

  • Who will the committee report to?
  • How often is feedback expected?
  • What form of reporting is expected?
  • Is there a board governance structure?
  • Will there be subcommittees?

This answers the question “Who is responsible and how are they involved?”

Define the Time Frame for the committee

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While much work will be ongoing, sometimes committee work needs an end date. Exploring these needs helps define the parameters for the work.

  • What is the start date of the committee?
  • How long will the committee exist?
  • How frequently will the committee meet?
  • How much time will the committee work take?

This answers the question “When?”

Determine Resources Required for the committee

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  • What level of staff support is needed?
  • What are the costs involved in the committee work?
  • Have the decision-makers allocated a budget for committee work?
  • Who authorizes spending for committee and/or project costs?

This answers the question “How much?”

Establishing a Recovery Committee with a good Terms of Reference will assist in the long-term leadership success of your recovery efforts. For more information on best practices regarding organizational development please visit



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