No. He can not sponsor his wife. Proxy marriages are Recognized in Canada. If one or both parties are not physically present at the ceremony, their marriage won’t be recognized. There are some exemptions. But in your friend’s scenario, he can not sponsor his wife.
As per IRCC, You may be exempt from this rule if:
- Your application was received before June 10, 2015, or
- You are a member of the Canadian Armed Forces. The marriage may be recognized if:
- You could not be physically present at your marriage ceremony, because of travel restrictions related to your service,
- the marriage took place outside of Canada, and
- It was registered in a country where marriage by proxy is legal.