Dec 20 - Canadian provinces made more progress in fiscal 2012 on the road to fiscal recovery as key financial parameters continued to rebound from the Great Recession. Although each province's performance varied, overall operating surpluses increased and after-capital deficits declined because operating revenues increased faster on average than expenditures did for the second consecutive year. Most provinces appear to be on track to meet their stated targets for returning to budgetary balance. However, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said in a report released today that it believes dimmer economic prospects in the second half of 2012, both in North America and around the world, will likely make it harder to keep up the fiscal momentum. "The issue of rising debt burdens is also looming larger," Standard & Poor's credit analyst Stephen Ogilvie said in the report, entitled "Canadian Provinces Continue With Small Steps Toward Recovery In Fiscal 2012." Total tax-supported debt burdens rose again in fiscal 2012 for the fifth consecutive year. Some provinces have tax-supported debt burdens at levels not seen since the mid-1990s. "We believe that provinces will need to remain focused on cost containment long after they achieve fiscal balance if their tax-supported debt burdens are to fall again," Mr. Ogilvie added. The report is available to subscribers of RatingsDirect on the Global Credit Portal at www.globalcreditportal.com. If you are not a RatingsDirect subscriber, you may purchase a copy of the report by calling (1) 212-438-7280 or sending an e-mail to email@example.com. Ratings information can also be found on Standard & Poor's public Web site by using the Ratings search box located in the left column at www.standardandpoors.com.