Value obtained from getRequest->getVar() cannot be compared

Silverstripe Version: 4.9

Question: Why cant values obtained from getRequest->getVar() be compared?

I am trying to compare a value which I have obtained from a query through a form

<form method="GET">
    <label for="year">Select year:</label>
    <select name="year" id="year" onchange="this.form.submit()">
        <option value="2022">2022</option>
        <option value="2021">2021</option>
        <option value="2020">2020</option>
        <option value="2019">2019</option>
public function getQueryYear()
        return $this->getRequest()->getVar('year');

So when I select a value from the form, for example 2022, the function getQueryYear() returns a string as follows (confirmed from var_dump):
string(4) “2022”

Then, inside the template if I try to compare the value of this obtained string:

<% if $getQueryYear == '2022' %>

It does not return true. I have tried casting to integer as well and comparing to int using:


<% if $getQueryYear == 2022 %>

Still doesnt work. Any ideas? Thank you.