I had a query from an individual who wanted to know whether a proxy marriage would be recognized by CIC. Because CIC refused his fiancée a visitor visa to Canada, he had thought that a proxy marriage might work to speed up sponsorship.
In short, proxy marriages are not recognized by CIC- which brings up the question of what marriages are recognized.
The marriage that is legally recognized according to the law of the place where it occurred is usually recognized in Canada. CIC puts the onus on applicants to prove their marriage is legal where it took place. A marriage, which took place abroad, must be valid both under the laws of the jurisdiction where it took place and under Canadian federal law.
Marriages performed in embassies or consulates must meet the requirements of the host country in which the mission is located. A diplomatic mission is considered to be within the territory and jurisdiction of the host state. Therefore, a marriage performed in an embassy or consulate must be legally recognized by the host state in order to be valid for Canadian immigration purposes. An applicant who has married in an embassy or consulate must satisfy an officer that all of the requirements of the host country with respect to marriage have been met, including whether the host country recognizes marriages performed in diplomatic missions within its jurisdiction.
Previously married applicants must be legally divorced before they remarry. In addition to proving that their subsequent marriage is legal, they must first prove that their divorce was legal.
Polygamous marriages are legal in many countries, but they are not legal in Canada. There they are excluded from the definition of marriage as per the immigration regulations.