There are effectively two different types of disability benefits, which is where things can become a bit complicated because there are really two different answers.
There are EI sickness benefits available for individuals who are not able to work due to a short-term illness. Those benefits run for a course of 15 weeks, and cover a portion of an employee’s earnings. Employees who will be out of the workplace for longer, however, may be eligible for CPP disability benefits. These benefits are for employees who have paid into CPP, but these applications can take a long time to process, and may not provide employees with the financial sustenance that they would need long term.
For employers who carry private insurance plans, the terms of coverage are up to the particular insurer. Some plans will require that employees are actively employed, or still in the workplace, at the time of their application. These benefits packages are highly dependent on the ‘fine print,’ and employers can help employees walk through their eligibility in a particular scenario.