External scholarships operate on a predictable schedule: keep an eye on email throughout the year as the Grad Admin will send reminders as applications open and deadlines approach. The department strongly encourages you to apply for whatever external scholarships you are eligible for (typically through NSERC or, in some cases, CIHR). Note that, if you win one of these major awards, the department assigns you less TA work and gives you a “top up” to acknowledge your achievement (in other words, you work fewer hours and earn more money than the basic funding package).
There are multiple awards available at the department level. As with external awards, there is a predictable pattern to the due dates of these awards. Start look for AwardSpring options at the end of the Fall term. Departmental Awards are announced in Winter term.