A Deep Passion for Insolven-Sea

News Story
| 6/13/2022

Jonathan McNair joined Crowe MacKay as a Partner and Senior Vice President of Crowe MacKay and Company in 2020. With over two decades of experience, Jonathan shares how his passion for problem-solving led him to a career focused on advising business owners on how to not only achieve financial security and success, but maintain it.

Chartering his Career

Never having a particular idea of what he wanted to be when he “grew up,” Jonathan graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Geography, giving the tools to charter the waters of building his career. He pursued accounting, starting as an articling with Wolridge Mahon Chartered Accountants in 1993, and obtaining his CA in 1997. While at Wolridge Mahon, Jonathan was given the opportunity to work  in their insolvency practice. He found the nature of the work fascinating. Compared to audit, the issues encountered and decisions being made had immediate impact. Jonathan started to form a new perspective of the accounting industry, leading him to obtain his Chartered Insolvency and Restructuring Professional (CIRP) designation and Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT) designation in 2011, creating the foundation of his insolvency career.

Over the years, in addition to the practical experience Jonathan needed to obtain his designations, he’s benefited from the opportunity to learn and grow from the guidance and mentorship of partners, managers, and colleagues he’s worked alongside - his greatest mentor being his former boss, Mike Cheevers. Now, as a trusted advisor in the industry, Jonathan’s advice to fellow professionals is “when problem-solving don’t hesitate to seek guidance and assistance from your professional network; don’t operate in a silo, that’s how you get into trouble.”

Jonathan has come to know that working as a LIT can be emotionally tasking. “Often you are seeing and dealing with individuals during a time that is undoubtedly one of the most difficult points in their lives,” Jonathan shares. “It’s important to provide understanding and empathy to these individuals, while also maintaining perspective and objectivity. The more intense the situation – the calmer one needs to be.” But regardless of how emotionally tasking the work may be, he’s come to learn one thing: You never know what the court is going to decide.

Although emotional objectivity is important, his work can also provide, what he calls “memorable moments.” What comes out on top as Jonathon’s most unforgettable engagement? He can’t choose between the bankruptcy of a fraudster involving a $40 million Ponzi scheme or a receivership involving the sale of a 300 foot, 1970’s Cold War era Russian submarine.

Jonathan McNair Boat
Photograph by Jonathan McNair

Captain Jonty

Jonathan – or as friends and family call him, ‘Jonty’ – is a home-grown North Vancouverite. His Great Grandfather and Great Grand-Uncle moved to North Vancouver from New Brunswick in the 1890s, starting Hastings Shingle Manufacturing Company, which in its time was the largest shingle manufacturer in the world.

When not working with business owners to restructure their debt, Jonty enjoys being on and around the water – fishing, boating, cruising, you name it! He values his time with friends and family, and never misses an opportunity to share his love for the sea with them, hosting them on his boat.

Some of his best thinking is done out at sea, and in these moments he reflects on a favourite quote:


nearly all those I loved and did not understand in my youth are dead, but I still reach out to them. I’m too old to be much of a fisherman now and I mostly fish the big waters alone although some of my friends think I shouldn’t. But when I’m alone in the half-light of the canyon all existence seems to fade to a being with my soul and memories, and the sound of the big Blackfoot River, a four-count rhythm, and the hope that a fish will rise. Eventually, all things merge into one and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and it runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops, under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by waters.


- Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It


About Crowe MacKay LLP

Serving northern and western Canada for over 50 years, Crowe MacKay LLP is one of the leading accounting and advisory firms in the country. With a team of 400 across eight offices, we are a vibrant team of trusted advisors. We believe strong relationships are the cornerstone to success and strive to create innovative solutions for our clients in both private and public sectors. We have a passion for quality in the services we deliver to our community and clients from a wide range of industries. A firm focused on people first, Crowe MacKay’s corporate culture is built on maximizing potential for clients and staff. Our belief is that we are truly our best when we invest in our people and communities. Committed to showing we care about the people we serve through our work and actions, we strive to make a difference in the regions we serve.

About Crowe Global

One of the top 10 accounting networks in the world, Crowe Global has over 200 independent accounting and advisory firms in more than 145 countries. For over 100 years, Crowe has made smart decisions for multinational clients working across borders. Our leaders work with governments, regulatory bodies, and industry groups to shape the future of the profession worldwide. Their exceptional knowledge of business, local laws, and customs provide lasting value to clients undertaking international projects. At Crowe, the professionals all share one commitment, to deliver excellence.