The commission will be led by Acadia University president Ray Ivany.
Ivany says the commission will seek input from the public on how best to spread the benefits of projects including the federal shipbuilding contract.
He says the commission will produce a report in 18 months recommending an economic strategy.
Dexter says the commission will be given a budget of $800,000.
The money will pay for public hearings, a website, travel and staff for a secretariat to be based in Truro.